*ooof*: Armitage in Sight

Life is unpredictable. As I was gearing up for yet another *ooof*, having decided to forgo Ascroft once again and shake things up with a photo from the past, Armitageworld goes into tail-spin over the emergence of new images. At one stage yesterday morning I counted the same image 18 times in a row uninterruptedly on my dash. (Ok, it says a lot about my tumblr stream, namely that I seem to only follow tumblrs that obsess fangirl over Armitage… but nonetheless a previously unreached record of Armitagisation of my dash…) I decided to react to that by *ooof*ing one of the AAP press photos from Sydney, shot by Tracy Nearmy, because they are *yum*. Alas, I can’t! They are copyright protected and are technically safeguarded in such a way that you can link neither to the thumbnail versions nor the watermarked high-res images. I could, theoretically, take a screenshot and use them that way. I could apply some photoshop wizardry and even rub out the watermark so that nothing obscures Mr Armitage’s handsome likeness. But no, I will not do that, because I think it is time to respect the copyright of photographers who make their living with their expertise, their craft and the resulting images.

I know that I am in danger of preaching some very unpopular sermon here. And that is why I am stopping short of it in this post. (However, I did originally rant on for another 800 words on this topic – now deleted – which I am instead posting simultaneously over on my Guylty-Wordpress-blog. I’d be very obliged if you hopped over there and had a look at my post Credit Where Credit Belongs – it’ll open your eyes!!) Let’s soothe our souls on this image, posted by Sydney newspaper mX on their Twitter yesterday:

Armitage operating in a gray area???
Richard Armitage for mX, Sydney, 2013
Source: https://twitter.com/mxsydney

Mr Armitage is posing outside. He is in what appears to be a back yard with evidence of some foliage, a small flower bed and the outside walls of the yard or house. This is taken in daylight, with no evidence of artficial lighting – apart from the usual give-away line on his angular forehead… He seems to be illuminated from above – the huge big soft box in the sky (also called “sun”). For once we have a photo, by the way, that seems to be taken from more or less Armitage’s head height.

And we have some nice perspective work going on in this image. Leaning against a wall, Armitage is looking at the camera. Part of the wall is visible in the shot. The composition of this image is yet another classic rules-of-thirds example. If you drew a vertical line along the edge of the bricks and another one along Armitage’s right side, you would divide the image into three equally wide strips. Now imagine three horizontal lines. The one going along the brick edge of the flower bed is the obvious one. Another one could be drawn along Armitage’s mouth. You now have divided the whole image into nine equal rectangles. And guess where Armitage is? In the vertical middle section. If you include a secondary horizontal line on that ledge that is visible on the back wall, you will find that it goes slap bang across the half-way mark of the image. Now draw another half-way line, vertically – and guess what: It goes right along Armitage’s nose and across the knot of his tie. Interesting: The cross section is directly above his heart. With imaginary lines in mind, the photo almost looks like a view through the sight-finder of a gun. Eros taking Armitage in sight? I wish…

But is that coincidence? No. It’s classic composition – almost a tiny bit predictable and boring – if it weren’t for the bricks on the right. They provide nice guiding lines that immediately draw our gaze to the most important part of any portrait – the subject’s eyes unless you have other fetishes, but more about that later. Also, they add a bit of texture to an otherwise slightly monochrome image that has a tad too much gray in it to be visually stimulaing. But the short-range depth of field, which throws anything that is beyond or in front of Armitage out of focus, nicely emphasizes the human centrepoint of the image.

It is autumn on the other side of the world (from where I am) and Armitage looks suitably dressed in a brown leather jacket, shirt and tie, and jeans. Armitage is nearly back for his Hobbit pick-ups, we all know, and therefore he has been growing his beard again. Did I mention already that I am rather non-plussed by the beard *ggg* ??? Yeah, not a fan. IMHO it adds a few years onto his face. And so does his outfit in this shot. Ilaria – where are you????? What *is* this horrible BROWN leather jacket??? With a huge big collar. Ugh, really, the hair on the back of my neck is standing to attention for all the wrong reasons. Combined with a tie that looks very narrow from this perspective, the outfit takes on a distinct retro charm. Hail the 1980s! One shudders. But then remembers that “nothing can disfigure a beautiful man”.

Not even the little belly that seems to be making an appearance here. The Tumblr RArmy has gone quite wild over the appearance of the tummy! I think I can spot it here, too, or what is lurking under the tie? No, I am not trying to slag Mr A off. If anything, the appearance of a bit of flesh will serve to make him more human. Not a mere fitness machine, steeled from endless hours of gym routine, not a God made out of steel abs and guns, but someone who *lives*.

Or that is how we *may* interpret  the way Armitage is presenting himself here. The beauty of press photography like this is, that it gives us a less stylised impression of the sitter. It is much less planned and contrived than a shoot like the Ascroft images – less beauty/fashion styling, less conscious/artificial posing – because there is usually much less time allowed for a shoot like this. It allows us to glimpse the man in a much more personal way, and it has quasi-documentary quality, especially when taken at events like red carpets or launches.

Unlike the carefully composed studio photography of Ascroft et al, this is not centerfold material. Even though Armitage most certainly always is centerfold-worthy. And yet I am pleased to see new images – they prove he is alive and well and taking part in this next step of his career. And I think that he can afford to show a bit of softness *at his age* oh the cheek of me.

All text © Guylty at me + richard armitage, 2013. Please credit when using excerpts and links. Images and video copyrights accrue to their owners.

~ by Guylty on April 30, 2013.

35 Responses to “*ooof*: Armitage in Sight”

  1. I want him in my backyard, very badly — silly jacket or no, tummy or no. I want to ply him with pizza, pinot noir, and chocolate ice cream.

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    • Don’t know why, but I suddenly have this mental image of a garden gnome in your backyard….

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      • Except that no garden gnome would be 6’2″ of warm, delectable, thoughtful, animated, gorgeous male with a well-developed naughty side.

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        • I think it is time that such garden gnomes were invented! Actually, even a 1′ miniature would be great fun to have. Just imagine, you could say “I have RA in my garden”.

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          • Like the time I was seriously in need of Richarding and I had plans to visit a friend, I asked “May I bring Richard Armitage?” Stunned silence. “Oh” I corrected myself, “in North & South.”

            Yeah, a one-foot image would be cool, preferably available in several outfits and positions.

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            • Hahaha, Good one! You’d be welcome in my house *any time* with Mr Armitage in tow, Leigh. In any incarnation. And yes, I want a cut out doll of RA with his latest wardrobe. The brown leather jacket gets banned, of course, but I wouldn’t mind a few tight T’s and the grey cardi. Plus the dark blue jeans. Red tie and blue suit. And the array of footwear, too. Graphic designers, get on it. Quick!

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  2. Thanks Guylty….I love the less contrived images in general, but this one doesn’t do much for me – it’s hardly possible to make RA look bad, but whoever dressed him here was certainly giving it a shot 🙂 I feel for him in leather – yep it’s autumn in Sydney, but I think the temps were in the mid 20’s C/80’s F over the weekend. I have no problem with the little tummy in principle, but is it possible that it is an aberration – haven’t seen much sign of it anywhere else recently.

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    • Yeah, I was mildly surprised and it’s quite possible this is just an illusion 😉 And my choice of *ooof*s is generally off in the age of the beard. I found the AAP images nicer, in general.

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      • I don’t mind the brown so much, I just don’t really get the whole look, with the cut of the jacket and the tie. *shrug* I don’t really get Jackson Pollack either, so what do I know 🙂

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        • Hahaha, Pollock!!!! LOL. That leather jacket is so anachronistic, it really hurts me. But hey, it’s all subjective. It fits the beard, though ;-p

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          • reminded me of “Starsky and Hutch”…splice in a Ford Torino and Huggy Bear and you’re all set. Subjective is right…or wrong? Oh Whatever! 🙂

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            • Oh Coooooood, Starsky and Hutch!!!! Yes!!!!! ROFLMAO. Oh no, I will never be able to look at RA again without restyling his hair into that side-burned helmet, possibly a concrete moustache to boot. Oh and yes, comboy BOOTS, too… I am reeling, I seriously am, obscura, you devil 😉

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  3. sorry…forgot to click notify button!

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  4. Thank you, Guylty, for taking up this super current picture !
    With the stomach, I thought, the fall of the tie was nasty, but I rather like the brown colour of the jacket, just do not really like leather jackets. But in general, I think deeply saturated natural colours do bring RA’s colouring out optimally.
    With the stomach, I just wondered, where he took it from, because the other new pictures of yesterday just show him as slim as always.
    I came to the conclusion that he tried to get on the same level with his photographer and sank into himself (?), to reduce his height.
    Otherwise I just can’t see where he got it from so fast after the other photo shoot 😉

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    • Speaking as a lifelong flute player and singer over the age of 40, I too have an incipient tummy that I can hold tight and firm when it pleases me, and that I can let hang out if I’m totally relaxed, or not consciously posing. So I can believe the tummy!

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      • Hehe, use it to your advantage, Chai! In RA’s case, it seemes as if quite a few ladies were actually attracted by it… I wish I could say that about my own blubber :-))

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    • That’s a really good explanation, C! Seems likely to me that he crouched a bit and that bunched up his shirt. Hehe, I guess I was blaspheming there about the tummy…
      As regards the outfit – I was slightly reminded of Harry Kennedy’s brown leather jacket that RA also wore in his RL. But this one has a different cut.

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      • Agree, Chaifreak, that is a great explanation!
        Though is not the tummy a bit high up and at a strange position in this picture? I am not an expert about anatomy, but thought it should normally be a bit lower at the waist line, where RA still looks slim, even in this picture? My tummy bump certainly is lower 😉
        Looks a bit like RA is keeping all his breath in his lungs. Your flute connection brought me to this idea, but his waistline just is so slim, so what caused the higher bump? Strange things need deeper exploring, it seems ;o) Who is in Australia right now and can solve the riddle? Or am I just too curious to solve Hibbity riddles? 😉

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  5. “Credit where credit belongs” and earned. Yes! Full support.

    As for un peu d’avoirdupuis around the waist at 40+ – what? Happens. 😀 The tumblr RArmy can always send him Jane Fonda (whatever) work-out vids. Do we not think he knows how to take care of himself, and his health?

    His complexion seems to have taken warmer tones – is this photographic lighting lately? Or have his sojourns south of the equator gradually warmed the skin colour, without “weathering” it? Whatever, the brown jacket works well. It has some reddish tones, but “cool” reddish, which perhaps work with his natural/original hair (“ginge” as the English a bit dismissingly term it colouring?) Only asking here, as not everyone of Anglo ancestry has peaches and cream skin, which can lend to light tanning. As opposed to burn&peel, without lashings of sunblock. 🙂 Only, in that photo, the brown jacket is flattering. And, I think the subject is as much in control as is the photographer.

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    • Guylty- I always find your posts so interesting. I rarely get beyond the “subject” to pay more attention to the details, although I like some pics more than others and you’ve helped me understand why. As for the tummy, I think it’s either an odd angle perspective or maybe a result of his workout regimine. The other Sydney photos–in the t-shirt and leather jacket–show a similar bump when he is posed leaning against the wall (in a too- forced position,IMHO.). My hubby is an avid runner and cyclist and while quite slender, when his lower body muscles are really built up, especially in the lower abdomen, it sometimes looks like he has a “tummy” up top. I doubt we are seeing a beer gut or middle aged paunch on RA, but perhaps just an odd optical illusion. Having been a back pain sufferer myself, with such a long plane ride, there’s also a possibility his back flared up a bit and he’s wearing a brace, which would also cause a “bump” in the upper tummy. Or, he’s in his first trimester and carrying pretty high right now. (I think we could set Twitter aflame with that last one!) 🙂

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      • *bruhahaha* that last remark is priceless, as is the interpretation it refers to. End of first trimester and expecting twins!!!
        Oh girls, you are giving me so much fun stuff tonight, my tummy is aching! It’s all tummy muscles, of course (mine, and RA’s!).
        On a more serious note: your remark re. Back pain and flying alsojust reminded me that he’s a tall man, having to sit through a long-haul flight to Oz. Previous back problems or not – that must be excruciating, although Business Class probably affords a bit more legroom and has better seats. You have to admire the professionalism!
        Also, thanks foryour kind words, Northern Gal! In this case I fully understand how you find it hard to get “beyond the subject”. You are excused ;-). I mean, I have to forcibly shift my gaze from Mr A to the non-descript background. And more often than not I ask myself “what the heck???”

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    • (grah, WP has eaten my long reply… here we go again). Hehehe, Jane Fonda, too right. Mind you, the young wans on tumblr may not even know who Fonda is… Who’s the fitness goddess of this day and age???
      Can’t say that I noticed the warmer complexion, but you could be right. I doubt it is the tones in (faulty) white balance of the photography. He always seems rather aristocratically pale.
      I liked how you said that he is as much in control as the photographer. That is a great observation (I should have made that myself ;-)) – and you are right. I think it is apparent from these press shoots that he has become used to being photographed. There is probably an element of direction in these shoots, too, but they would not be as strongly directed as studio shoots where subject and photographer work together and have more time. Armitage looks comfortable, offers a variety of poses and expressions, and has sussed out which ones work. Mind you, we haven’t seen the duds, there could be some. But nonetheless, this is interesting stuff.

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  6. I have always been a tummy fan (there’s a tumblr post somewhere in my blog called “Tummy Time” in which I lovingly highlight it!! Guylty, I was laughing right from the sentence “Let us soothe our souls…” ROFLMAO! Excellent OOOOOF as always my dear!

    The post in question – (hopefully this makes it past Servetus’s spamblocker software!)

    playazindaback.tumblr.com/post/42019148165/playazindaback-i-realize-we-have-been-over-and

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  7. Finally an *ooof* that I get to read in something like real time. Thank heavens for finals week. 🙂 And thank you for writing this!

    I wanted to say publicly that you should feel free to raise intellectual property issues on the blog. They’re important.

    On the substance — I’m glad that you picked this photo. I also thought it was somehow retro and conservative in composition, and I was distinctly reminded of some moments in the 1970s. I think that collar is coming back — I’ve seen it elsewhere recently. The overall impression I got from these pictures (as opposed to the other ones we saw yesterday) was sort of “cleaned up cowboy” (probably enhanced by the narrow tie) — someone who’s out working hard during the week and has just put on his nice shirt, tie, and jacket for Sundays. It’s a kind of South Texas look in some ways.

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    • (Sorry, slightly delayed here because I am listening live to RA’s phone interview in Ozzieland) This keeps getting better and better. Garden Gnome Richard, Richard Starsky, Cut-out-doll Armitage and now 1970s Texas Cowboy. PRICELESS. This fandom is so worth it!!! Loving it.
      Glad to know I am not the only one who finds the look retro – and not really in an entirely fashionable way. Thank goodness yesterday’s pics were good *ahem*.
      Oh, and re. the copyright rant – thanks for giving me the platform. I basically cut it out because it wasn’t quite appropriate to the *ooof* format. But I can sneak some sermons in at a later point 😉

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  8. Gasp! I want to know how this is possible Richard is in the same color type jacket, same tie and color shirt of a good friend of my husband’s and mine was in for his senior pictures for high school that was taken in 1988. The only difference is that our friend is leaning against a tree and from the other side.
    Maybe not the best picture of Richard, but it is from this week and it is great to see a new one that is really new. Great job on explaining all the tech stuff of these pictures once again.
    Retro 1980’s, to bad no Richard back then.

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    • yeah, my life might have been different, though he wouldn’t have looked this good back then 🙂

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  9. […] really, these are beautiful portraits. I can’t wait for guylty to do an *oof* of them. See https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/ooof-armitage-in-sight/ to see what I […]

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  10. […] From the same photoshoot as above. See Guylty's response here. Source: […]

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  11. […] is a picture, and I have blogged on Capt. Haddock… ooops… bearded RA many different times before… Take that for pleasing my audience… So we return to Australia in spring (their […]

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