*ooof*: Will the *Real* Richard Armitage Please Stand Up?!

Did you think I was *ooof*ed out? Ha! No. Not in a million years. But I did have to take a little breather last week after the frantic on-the-spot *ooof*ing. Thus it is only today that I get back to you, esteemed readers. And this time with an image that should satisfy those among you who have been waiting for something non-RARA. Despite myself, Ascroft-fan that I am, I am focussing on a less-streamlined image, and yet one where I still get what *I* want, too – a RA in beard-less, real life beauty. This *ooof* is therefore dedicated to my friendly critics Nimue and i.f. who very graciously participated in all the discussion about the endless RARA images, and expressed their dislikes despite the rather overwhelming majority of readers who have fallen for Ascroft’s superficial beauty shots. Can I quickly take the opportunity and say that I really enjoyed our discussion – in the words of John Standring “Never think you can’t tell me things” :-). Disagreement and discussion are what keeps a blog alive. I always appreciate your opinion! Enough arse kissing peach petting ;-), let’s get into it.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" Press ConferenceWhat??? You think I am REAL/UNREAL??? Richard Armitage in a press shot by Vera Anderson, New York 2012. Source.

The images by Vera Anderson were suggested to me by Nimue and i.f., and I happily oblige, because what we see here is classic photo call material, almost the diametrically opposite of Ascroft. If you surf over to the fabulous RA resource bank that is richardarmitagenet.com, you will see that there are plenty of images of “Armitage in white shirt and dark grey jacket against red background”. Proof that these images were taken at a press junket that was attended by several photographers: Magnus Sundholmen, Theo Kingma, Vera Anderson. If you compare the images closely, you can deduce how a press junket like this one works for the assembled hacks press: Here, the photographers were obviously placed at the front of the pack, all in a pit in front of the raised pedestal… oooops… no… podium that Richard sat on. The photographers are shooting up from slightly lower than Armitage’s head level. The journalists were all placed further back in the room, hence we can see Richard’s gaze directed over the head of the photographer. If you compare Sundholmen’s, Kingma’s and Anderson’s shots, you will see how they are all shot from slightly different angles. Shooting with a long lens, they were standing beside each other – an indication of the highly competitive environment that press photography is.

You will also notice, when you compare the three quoted photographer’s shots, that there is very little difference between the individual shots apart from Richard’s ever-changing adorable visage. There may be slightly different tones in the colours, but generally the images are pretty much identical. Also, the lighting in them is similar. I find it difficult to determine whether they were all shot with available light, i.e. the light that illuminated the podium, or whether the photographers used their own flash to light the subject. There is very little shadow in any of the images – I veer towards the opinion that they were all able to shoot with available light, otherwise there would be more discernible differences. Or maybe the available light was so strong that it is domineering the photogapher’s flash? (Although a mixture of light usually manifests itself in a discernible hue – which is not present here. Hm.) We can glean a little bit of insight when looking deeply into Richard’s eyes. (Thank Vera for publishing her images in huge resolution!) The catchlights in his eyes confirm that there is a large lightsource which seems to illuminate the scene from above (the white semicircle visible at the top of his irises). There is also a white bit at the bottom of the iris – that is the reflection of the white tablecloth on the table at which Richard is sitting. However, you can also detect a small white dot in the center of his pupil – most likely the reflection of the photographer’s flash. (Researching this, btw, took me on a complete tangent. So intent was I on finding out how Richard had been lit, that I looked at the Waldorf Astoria meeting rooms on the net. My search was not quite conclusive – were they in the Astor Room, and the white semicircular light is a bright crystal chandelier, the mirror behind the podium obscured by the red backdrop? It might fit… Jeepers – is this what they call obsession ??? As a by-product of that research I came across a press article about the Hobbit which I had previously not read, by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which also mentions Richard at the end, plus the writer’s own personal account of the whole press junket here. Some typical Richarding in there!) Let’s assume that the photographers *are* actually shooting with flash so that I can lecture you on how to use an on-camera flash for indoor portraiture. You may know from your own attempts at using flash when you are taking pictures indoors, that that usually results in unsightly harsh shadows on your sitter and often on the backdrop. There is an easy way of avoiding this when you are using an SLR which has a detachable flash – and you can see that when you observe a press photographer at a function. What they do is, they direct their flash *not* straight at the subject but they angle it at the ceiling! The thought behind it is this: As light a) travels in straight lines and b) gets reflected, you can send the light up to the (usually) white ceiling from where it will be thrown back onto your subject. The reflection will diffuse the light and create softer shadows. And what is more, it will re-direct the light so that it shines from above, mimicking what our brain considers “normal”: Sunlight, which always comes from above! Clever?

That is what is most probably happening here at this shoot, too: Anderson has a flash on her camera, which she has pointed towards the ceiling. Remember that I said that there was relatively little evidence of shadow on RA? Well, not only does Anderson’s flash get reflected from the ceiling and hits RA from above; it also spills onto the white table cloth on the table he is sitting at and gets reflected upwards from that, so that his neck and jaw are also evenly lit, from below. Yep, clever!! The only bit of shadow here is on Richard’s right temple/forehead angle (very hard for photographers to deal with, btw – hence the mad photoshopping in his studio portraiture???) and near his right hairline – where the reflected light from the ceiling does not quite reach because he has slightly turned his face to the right and his Elvis quiff blocks the path.

Lighting technicalities out of the way – how does the image measure up aesthetically? The image I have chosen is conventionally composed: The main part of the image (head) is roughly in the upper half of the image, bang in the middle. So symmetrical, so boring good. There is a slight vignetting effect in the top corners – caused either by the flash or by the focal length used of the lens. It is actually quite pleasing, because it gives a halo effect to Richard’s head: the area around his head is lighter than the rest of the background. Very fitting for demi-god Richard, actually. The dark shoulders and hair of the subject contrasts pleasingly with the mid-tone background. The red colour adds a nice pop of colour to an otherwise rather monochromely dressed subject. (It is most probably not the photographers’ choice, however, but has been put up by whoever dressed the set for the junket. Red, btw, can be tricky, for instance at red-carpet events when the red colour of the carpet reflects back onto the subjects – as has been the case for Richard, too: Check, for instance, how “rosy” Richard looks at the BAFTA 2007.)

What RAficionados such as Nimue and i.f. prefer – the un-edited and un-manipulated slice-of-life quality of these photos – are a by-product of the nature of photo call imagery. Consider these points: The purpose of photo call images is to accompany press articles of the event, in this case the Hobbit junket. They are therefore unlikely to go into a magazine editorial. As an illustration for a report on a press event, they are not meant to promote the handsomeness of the subject, but the fact that the handsome actor was present. Therefore the photographer quickly shoots for later quick consumption. You’ll hear the endless clickclickclick of the shutter release at these events, the photographers seemingly indiscriminately “snapping” away. Which they do. Immediately after the event, they will choose a number of evocative images from their loot that show the emotions of the subject. Hence you get RA with a wrinkly Beagle forehead among these shots, or a mid-sentence RA, or a roaring-with-laughter RA. You can almost imagine the captions that will later be put under these images: “Richard Armitage, patiently answering the press…”, “Richard Armitage intently listens to the questions of the press…”, or “Richard Armitage prettily pondering Einsteins theory of relativity”. Maybe not the last one.  The lack of Photoshop in these images manifests itself in occasionally unsightly composition (not in this one!) and the un-edited facial and body features of the subject. There simply is *no time* for the photographers to “clean up” the image. A cursory crop, a quick colour correction, and off they go to the agency or to the picture desk of the online and print publications that may have an interest in reporting these events.

All of the above may explain to you why some of you prefer these images to the polished product of a studio shoot. Here we see RA with all his lines, his darling little pock mark, his forehead a veritable low-tide beach of ripply sand. He has been frozen in a real-life-situation. He is undoubtably aware of the pack of photographers who are snapping like starving hounds at the slice of beefcake life in front of them. But he is not concentrating on them. He is not smiling specifically for them but reacting to the questions from the present vultures journalists. Personally, and I say this without any judgment!, I find pictures like these very hard to interpret. Because there is no other message in them than to document a moment in the life of RA. Where Ascroft wants to present [tick the box for appropriate answer] Richard’s

[ ] beauty

[ ] modesty

[ ] sexiness

[ ] magnetic personality

[ ] thoughtful approach to life

[ ] favourite-son-in-law quality

[ ] hotness

[ ] bashful-boy-next-door-ness

[ ] scorching alpha masculinity

[ ]  favourite brand of dog biscuit

[ ] professional attitude to work

[ ] cello-playing sensitivity,

these images simply present Richard Armitage

[ ] at 5.30 pm on a Monday afternoon in the Waldorf Astoria.

We can argue endlessly which of the approaches are more true and more faithful to the *real* RA. We will never come to a conclusion, because only RA knows the answer to the truth. He is the willing accomplice in both scenarios – he allows the likes of Ascroft to *interpret* him, and he lets Anderson and Co. grab a slice of his life for distribution and dissection in the media.

Having said that – I *do* like this image. It pleases me to see that Richard is not a figment of imagination, a flat pretty boy created only for the purpose of drooling, but a thinking, laughing, pondering, gesticulating, arguing, living, breathing, burping man. Don’t huff at the last word. He got off lightly. I nearly wrote “farting”! I enjoy seeing him blunder through an interview, caught wearing a stained pair of jeans, or leaving a gig preoccupied by being Thorin. Or the opposite of that: confidently answering expert questions on Tolkien’s writing, thoughtfully attending to his award night date, or signing pictures for his fans. In the end, this is the proof that he exists, and is much like everyone else. Maybe a bit more talented. Perhaps most definitely more handsome. But unquestionably human. It’s good to be reminded of that, every once in a while!

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 June 11, 2013.

65 Responses to “*ooof*: Will the *Real* Richard Armitage Please Stand Up?!”

  1. Hehehe, this ones definitely for me. yessyess. You made my day, thank you very much!
    This one is really one of my favorites – exactly because it is not polished to death, and shows some real life glory. And because of all the bits and pieces you delicately pointed out of course. 😉
    I think I strictly differ between these kind of shots from press junkets compared to studio shoots like Ashcrofts (or the gritty one at the V&A) and/ or real candid pictures being taken at the rare opportunity when one bumps into him on the street and offer even more „real life“.
    The first reason why I prefer photos of this kind is simply that I don’t like him to be changed too much by the magic of photoshop. I does give me an idea how he might be as a privat person (and I have to confess that I am quite curious about that, although this is unfortunately and definitely none of my business). But of course I do agree with you that it doesn‘t make sense to read too much into pictures like this – it’s just a „slice of life“. And I am more than fine with this as I do not think I have the right to ask for more.
    Second rease: I feel quite intimidated by candids being taken by fans who hunt him down and force him into a situation where it would be considered impolite not to pose for a photo with them. I got the impression he is willingly offering his time and a hug to nearly everbody that approaches him – but I just think it is not fair. Everybody – and a person of public interest as well – has a right to his/her privat sphere.
    An event like a press junket offers the possibility for photographers (and watchers of the pics) to catch a glimpse behind the scene. And for the fans to bild up their parallel universe. But it also is kind of a sheltered area. The time / location / purpose of the meeting of actor and photographers is settled before. And this gives the object of desire the opportunity to present him in a way he would like to be seen (just without directing from the photographer as in a studio shoot). It’s of course not like acting in front of a camera on set – but still some kind of acting. And in a way that is within his control. Clothes, makeup, hairstyle etc. can be considered (and corrected when necessary) before the frenzy starts and he is the master of the situation. Whereas in a daily situation on the street the shirt maybe would need a wash, the hair a cut, shoes not polished, no makeup despite the hangover after the tough last night… (and we all know how explicit these candids are analysed – we fans do take notice of even the smallest little details, *gg)

    So yes – I do love pictures from press junkets (taken by good professional photographers) as they show me as much ReAl life RA as I think is acceptable for him as well as pleasing me. Thank you Mr. A. for being so gorgeous and thank you guylty for this great *ooof.

    note: I don’t want to offend anyone who had the opportunity to meet him and was able to ask for a photo being taken. It’s just me who would never ever dare to address him when I would really get into a situation to come across him (because I would probably faint).

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    • Ah, *phew*! I am glad that this finds your approval, i.f. And I am not saying this flippantly. Much like RA himself, I *do* want to please my audience. And while that is not always possible, it is at least something that I aspire to – and I was sorry that all my ascrofting had left you cold… 😉 Even better that you like this particular image. I was not so sure about that – after all he is not displaying his widest, prettiest smile here. Well, RA could *never* be ugly, but this is the kind of fleeting expression that makes ordinary people look stupid *hehe*.
      Anyway, I am really interested in the point you are raising re. candid photography. It is an issue that I am battling with as a photographer – how fair/ethical/ok is it to take spontaneous pictures of people? I know I should be ruthless about it – and consider my photographing as an act of documentary and therefore not a hostile act of paparrazzi exploitation. And yet I feel reluctant to snap people on the sly. Or even in broad vision. (I was at a panel discussion with three famous photographers/film makers on Saturday. Don McCullin, Giles Duley, Ben Anderson. All have used their lenses to record people – often without express consent of the subjects – they are war photographers. They know how photography works and that it is not an act of voyeurism. And yet I just could not bring myself to document the momentous occasion of seeing these three impressive and inspiring men together at the event. I just felt silly snapping them. And I felt as if I was taking away some piece of dignity by snapping them. So I didn’t. And now have no tangible memento of that amazing talk…)
      Like you – I am not being prescriptive here. This is *my* own dilemma – a silly one, considering that I am a photographer. But my own conclusion is pretty much the same as yours, i.f.: I feel that photo calls are the place to snap and document, because the subject has consented to be there and to be seen. Likewise a scenario where he has consented to meet fans – and where he frequently has been reported to actually *suggest* that a photo is taken to document the meeting. (So lovely of him, that. *sighs* What a thoughtful star!) That is a good opportunity for a photo.
      It doesn’t really fulfill the criteria of showing the *real* man, though – only the *real* PUBLIC man. But then again: that is all we can hope and ask for. I know that, I respect that – I understand why for that reason the press images are your preferred images. It’s as good a reason as any!

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      • I notice a consensus? :-) Happy to hear that! I understand your willing to please your audience – but I think you do not need to bother. We all enjoy your *ooofs tremendously, even when the chosen pic is not one of our favorites. There are either shivers down the spine – or something interesting to learn about photography. Mostly both. You delivery anyway.

        McCullins and Duleys pictures creep under my skin. Hard to bear them. But is war photography not some kind of different business? I can (rather) approve to the point of view that taking a picture in such an extraordinary environment doesn’t require (necessarily) the objects consent.
        But here we normally talk about pictures of a sitter with (more or less) his approval. Both arranged studio shoots and press photos are previously agreed upon. Both allow preparation and do not catch someone by surprise. But I think I can comprehend your feeling of being reluctant to take a snap of the three photographers. Not too long ago people were afraid of loosing their soul when their picture was taken. 🙂 I have tons of (not very good) pictures from my holidays. Nearly no one with people on them – only buildings and landscapes. Taking pictures of people that I do not know in an exotic surrounding always strikes me a bit like visiting the zoo…..

        Quite a different thing is paparazziing. And I do not think this is the other side of the same coin. I am really taken aback by these guys who do their very best to catch a glimpse on a celeb in a most embarrassing situation. This strikes me also as a kind of war – resp. as a kind of hostile act. What greater good does this serve?

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        • Oh, you are totally right, of course, war photography is a completely different kettle of fish. It is documentary only, not art, not celebrity spotting. Of course their “rules of engagement” are different to press or street photographers. Although I found the three mentioned men extremely ethical and self-critical in their approach. McCullin in particular – who is in his 70s and spent 55 years photographing conflict – has a very dignified, touching, highly reflected and torn attitude to his particular branch of photography. – Did you know their work already? McCullin’s images are iconic. Duley is hugely inspiring. And what a witty, funny, articulate man, full of life and spirit… Anyway, I digress.
          Haha, holiday snaps devoid of people… Sounds familiar. That’s my photo albums, every time! Well, I have talen the occasional shot of individuals – but never without asking permission first. Paparrazzis are scum, on the other hand, but we must take responsibility, partly, because they obviously react to a demand by the drooling public. I actively avoid looking at paparazzi stuff. I ignore it. My lust for RA photos ends at his front door. Or at his lical newsagent, gym, off-licence etc.

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    • Presumably, in all of these situations where we see him next to / with / hugging a fan, he had the right to decline. I see that as different from paparazzi photos.

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  2. I do like this photo (it puts a very current face to a “little” project I’m working on 😉 ) I love the discussion of how the light works, and how a trained eye can “read” it. It also gives me a lot of perspective on the range that exists within this craft…different skill sets are accentuated by different types of photogs…neither is necessarily better than the other since the results are viewed so subjectively, but I’d be interested to see what would happen if we could switch places and have one of the press photogs do studio and someone like Ascroft do press – how different would the results be?

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    • That is a very interesting idea, obscura. I would love to see that. Would Ascroft go for the most beautiful of shots, only? Do some interesting composition, including negative space? Avoid all background distraction and zoom in as close as possible? And would Anderson in the studio still try to capture the animated sitter, rather than the still subject? Hard to tell. What a great idea!!! (Most photographers that I know, btw, seem to be allrounders and pretty good at both the posed studio stuff as well as the impromptu photo call shots… But I am sure they have their preferences… When it comes to me, I certainly prefer studio shoots to photo calls.)

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      • Is there a certain demographic among the photographers at photo calls…I mean, do they tend to be at an earlier point in their careers, building portfolios, establishing themselves…where people like Ascroft are at a different point? I’m not surprised to hear that most are “allarounders” – proficient in any photographic setting, yet perhaps preferring or even excelling in one over the other? (How irritating it is to excel at something that one doesn’t prefer…)

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        • No, I don’t think there is an age or experience demographic there. I think it is about personality and own preferences. Here’s a longish post that you might enjoy on the topic: https://2picsaweek.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/photography-a-sexists-paradise/ (including a little sweet surprise ;-))

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          • Very interesting – I’m never going to be able to look at a long lens the same way again! (I knew I couldn’t be the only one who noticed how phallic those cameras are!!)

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            • *giggles* I know. Strangest experience I ever had was years ago when I went to a flickr group meeting with loads of photographers whom I had never met before. I approached the meeting point, and noticed lots of men, all staring at my chest. Or rather: not my chest, but the camera that was dangling from my neck. Interesting experience. I was not being judged by the size of my boobs but by the length of my lens. Of course, I couldn’t compete with *them* *hahahaha*

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              • Ahh, boys and their “toys” (however you define toy there…) It really is rather amusing once you’re versed in the rules of the game – it seems to be timeless! I’m trying to think if women have a similar behavior?

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                • BTW…I started the blog I’m about to post BEFORE we started talking about this – check the collective consciousness!

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                • Of judging men on? Well, there is the well-known Richard Armitage scale of sexual hotness, of course… 😉 No, I don’t know… I wouldn’t say that I am beyond subconsciously checking a male’s masculine attributes – broad shoulders, narrow hips, muscles, size of nose, amount of hair on head and chest :-D. But I can’t say that I check their pants for bulges or something like that.

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                  • I was thinking more along the lines of competing with each other…there is an American idiom about this that has to do with swinging a certain appendage in a competition that comes to mind…

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                    • Ahh. Hang on, which idiom is that? I am not quite sure I know what you are referring to…

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                    • LOL…starts with “d” ends with “ick”….

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                    • *doh* can’t believe I didn’t get that!!! Well, women occasionally push their boobs around I suppose…

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                    • Yeah, I was thinking that too, but is it usually in a competitive way towards other women directly, or as a lure…? I’m not really sure (I’ve spent the better part of a lifetime trying to direct attention away from my chest, apparently, I may have been more successful by working with mother nature’s bounty!) UHG – do I have to give up my feminism card?

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                    • Well, to be very honest – I do think that (some?) women use their female attributes quite consciously. A nicely presented cleavage in a strategically chosen place can attract a lot of attention. Feminism? No, I do not believe we are stabbing our sisters in the back by admitting that. I don’t think that is done in order to alienate potential (female) rivals, but solely to attract male suitors 😀 And hey, I think boobs are good. They should rule. Not d*cks!

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            • one of my favorite pics from the Middleton / Wales wedding two years ago now was the shot of the camera people with their amazingly long lenses. Almost like bazookas.

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  3. Just want to say before I start reading the conversation — masterful discussion of the flashes. I learn SO much from you.

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    • 🙂 Thanks – I always wonder whether I am photo-nerding too much, but then again, I actually often learn from my own analysing because I have to focus and apply my knowledge. And so I ramble on…

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      • yeah, you don’t know how much you know till you have to explain it to someone (a common recognition among professors)

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  4. Hmmmm,
    Ashcroftpics: between 5 and 7 dozens discussionpartners with a total of a gazillion comments / 99,8% approval.
    Other pics: 2 discussionpartners.
    What does that tell me?
    😉

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    • Guylty got overrun by the trailer premiere today — usually this post would be on top of the blog for almost 24 hours. She got roughly the same number of page views, however.

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      • hehe, that is fine, though. I am quite glad to have finally made the 0.2 percent of my readership (i.f.’s number) happy. Win.

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        • see your email — if you can rejig this to the top tomorrow, please do so 🙂

          Looking at PVs, though, I think this is going to get at least as many usual — now that the immediate trailer euphoria has passed, people are looking further down the blog. I also RTed my earlier tweet.

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    • Only that today it is bad timing for me to post an *ooof* when the Hobbit DOS trailer comes out 🙂 Servetus warned me.

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  5. Thanks for another informative and entertaining *ooof*, guylty. Love the expression on his face in this one. Interesting thought that a photo shoot photo can be more revealing of the person than a studio photo. I am on record about candid shots, though. I love the photos with fans. I, too, am not in favor of secretly photographing someone. Expectations of privacy and all. But unless the fan has a gun or a knife, I think posing for a photo with a fan is voluntary. I don’t think I’d be able to ask to take a picture with RA, but I appreciate those who have. I didn’t have the nerve to ask Hugh Jackman to take a picture with me, but I did ask him to take a picture with my niece, which he very nicely did. I can’t believe I actually was able to take the picture without ruining it! LOL! Thanks, again, guylty.

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    • I am there with you, Marie – in fan capacity I would not be able to ask RA for a picture *with ME*. I probably would have no problem asking for someone else though. And in professional capacity at an official call, I would just do my photographer’s work and be happy. How weird it is to make all these distinction? Am I a split personality *haha*? – And yes, I like fan photos, too, although I sometimes almost flinch because I find them so personal… Maybe that is just me. I would probably keep a photo of me and RA under wraps forEVER…

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  6. Now, this took me a time to work me through and around all this positioned lenses and the armed photographers’ weaponry….. and the comments…Yeah it can be really disgusting. Dead certain this is a male-preserve, as you not only need tough elbows, quite often it’s assistant to have a certain height and ruthlessness, but also a good portion of hubris and self-confidence.
    S. thanks for linking to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette articles. I’ve also never seen them before, and there are a couple of infos in there, that appeared to be new to me, like him drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking cigarettes to deepen his voice. And then telling the story the other way round the next day! Did he try to create a bit of a legend there?? I was totally unaware before, that RA on no account wanted to deliver that Maori-speach, and that he had to be „forced“, and it only later dawned on him, that the approach and perspective of a warrior could help him with his role of Thorin..
    Ah, but we are here to „oooof“ light-heartedly..(!!)… about this breathtakingly handsome, frowning „real bloke of our hearts“, this time presented with an invigorating red background. and to praise a certain lady who e.g. again explains new insights, as how they operate press junkets and how photographers use the availabe light and how they especially use their flashes. Me, still staring in wonder at this white tablecloth in Richard’s eyes!!! LOL.

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    • Yes, I found those bits about working on his voice very interesting, too. And I smiled at the bit where he looked up the definition of “franchise” for the journalist in order to absolve her 🙂 Just really fits in with our perception of him as a benign soul.
      It’s great, isn’t it, what you can see in a picture when you are given a high-res version. Looking at the eyes is always worth-while. You should check it out. Sometimes you can see the reflection of the photographer in them.
      Thanks for your lovely comment G 🙂

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  7. Beefcake – huzzah! God I love this picture. Yes he looks “real” and not overly polished/airbrushed, but also impossibly Richard-licious. That HAIR. I am of the opinion that his hair should never be shorter than it is here. I really don’t like the close-cropped look on him, and looking at his hair in this picture, you can see why. (I even loved the Guy of Gisborne mullet period for hirsute reasons, I must confess.)

    And I love the forehead lines and eye crinkles… recently I was watching a youtube clip of Bruce Jenner on the Jimmy Fallon show (a horribly awkward encounter, by the way) and PLASTIC SURGERY ON MEN DOES NOT IMPROVE THEIR LOOKS…. Give me a legitimately-aging Sean Connery or George Clooney any day of the week; I loathe what Harrison Ford has done to his handsome face through surgery. I hope Richard never goes there because, like a fine wine, he only gets better with age.

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    • Oh hey, no problems with the mullet, here, Abby. After all, I am a child of the 80s – and so is RA. I agree with you on the hair length – although I am not a fan of the Elvis quiff. I really liked the bang look of the Captain America period. Made him look so young. This swept-back quiff, on the other hand, makes him look older and more serious. Ah well…
      On the subject of aging and plastic surgery – signs of aging would not put me off Richard. Signs of surgery would. Just like the photoshopping: he does NOT need it. I do not mind any single line. On *his* face. On *mine* I do very much 😦

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  8. And you’ve created a new verb- ashcrofting!

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  9. I have to intervene and say “Ascrofting.” Ashcroft makes me think of a political figure in the previous administration whose tenure IMO is best forgotten 🙂

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  10. I forgot today was an *ooof* day until after planting some of the veggie garden and having to take a shower before cooking supper I remembered while getting out. Finally no snow and hopefully the frost stays away too.

    I love the crinkles, it show me a man, not a boy. Makes him look real with no photoshopping. It is taken in the moment not a set up photo, I do like the Ascroft pictures too. It is kind of sexy vs. real, love them both.

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  11. Another brilliant *ooof*. Blimey, to think that in the early days of my newspaper career I thought the photographers had the easier job. I soon learned how hard and fast they had to work, often with so little (indeed, my favourite press togs are those who come back with something amazing every time, even tho a practised eye can tell that they were working in lousy light or were deprived of interesting settings or props. I could name names, but none is famous, deserving tho these togs are). Thanks to your ooofs, Guylty, I am understanding how much highly disciplined craft goes into the fine art. The tablecloth! Who would have credited it with such power?
    What intrigues me about this pic is RA’s inscrutability as a backdrop to his scrupulous good manners. Compared with how fresh and well rested he looked in Sydney four months later, he looks tired here, yet is politely attentive to his duty. (Perhaps that’s why I’m reminded of John Thornton, going home on the northbound train to a failed business and *ahem* strangely missing his cravat.) Do the press pics, as opposed to the naturalistic yet highly staged Ascroft series, show us the real RA? I don’t think so. Dressed up, made up, airbrushed or not, the “real” RA seems to me as reticent and remote as he ever was.
    However, I quite like that; I don’t want all the answers. I enjoy feeling mystified. I find it pleasurable.

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    • Thanks for putting your own experience with photographers into your commnt, Groovergreen. It’s great to hear your perspective on it! I wouldn’t necessarily say that they have a harder job than you as a writing journo, but it is certainly harder than the public *think*.
      You are absolutely right re. RA professionalism. That is what always, always strikes me about this man. I have yet to see or read an interview where he was *not* attentive and polite. He always goes out of his way to put everyone at ease. I admire that very much.
      Good point about the remaining mystery. Yes, I am happy *not* to know everything. Because that gives me room to dream and to imagine. I like the dreamboat quality of RA.

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  12. Thank you once more for a very entertaining and interesting ‘ooof’ complemented by very readable comments! It is always a pleasure to get such a deep insight in the material! As for me I appreciate the different types of photographs – I like most of them knowing that they are based on different situations and purposes. Maybe this is too simple or humble but it’s just the way I look at RA and the flood tide of photos that reaches us from time to time. And yes, I like the RARA photos very much – may they bring him the roles he is working for!

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    • I think you are striking a good point there, Nell. I suspect that the RARA images are better suited for showing off his attributes than the press photos. Thanks for your comment!

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  13. Wowwowwow, “you adorable girl”. Your details about the photo are as professional as usual… But yes, I appreciate photographs of the “real” RA very much, no photoshop, please. I love all the Robert Ascroft photos (I adore them), but it seems to me they´re shot to create a special image. Yes, he looks like a sex god in them, but his face is so slender, in real it is wider (?).

    So, I love this real photo, and with this look I can imagime him to stand aside me (just for a photo, I´d die for it), it´s more fitting my own age…

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    • Hehe, that’s what you call “applied preferences” – your logic can’t be argued with, Ute! And from that POV I have to say an old bag like me prefers an unphotoshopped version of RA, too. He’d still be waaaaayyyy too attractive for me, but at least we’d look the same age :-D.
      Btw – bist du nun schon Oma????

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      • By the way, I`ve been an “Oma” (grandma) since the late evening of 06.06.13. Her name´s Emma Charlotte, mama and baby are at home now. But I´m not too old for swooning and drooling and a lot of *ooofs*, can´t await watching CBeebies with the little one…

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        • Herzlichen Glückwunsch! You are an extra young granny then. Lucky little Emma – she’ll have you a long time and have lots of fun with her young, energetic Oma. (hahaha – CBeebies, how fitting – yeah, maybe I should get myself a menopause baby and put the stories on. On second thought: NO. Definitely NOT.)

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          • I had a dream about that the other day…a nightmare really! I’m very happy cuddling other peoples’ babies and then handing them back 🙂

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          • Hi guylty, thank you for your congratulations, but I`ve to admit my “Mutti” was seven years younger than me when she became a grandmother, and I´ve got a younger brother who´s just four years older than my eldest daughter, so we´re a young family. But I suppose every generation gets younger (we all have a good hairdresser, no grey hair), though my grandma was more open to me than my mother and was my confidant in the family.
            Sorry for loosing the thread. Have to swoon over the photo again…

            BTW, in some of the “real” Richard-photos I´ve seen a grey hair on his left forehead. Did you recognize it? I love it, it´s so natural, and the man´s coming down from Zeus`olymp to the earth.

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            • Young mothers are great (my mum was 20 when she had me and I made her a granny when she was 49).
              I thought I saw some flashes of grey, too. Unless they were just the reflections of light on his shiny tresses??? I don’t really mind a stray grey hair on him. On me, I’d throw a wobbly! I am so not ready to have grey hair. Luckily, I’m a blonde…

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              • I´m afraid to disappoint you, I´m a blonde one, too, and have to confess there´s a little bit of grey in my hair. So, my hairdresser´s become my best friend…

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  14. I ‘m late, excuse me 🙂 Thank you for another interesting post, Guylty.
    I love these “unpolished” photos but I think you’ve convinced me, intelligent photographers are essential for Richard’s film career (esp. if his goals are located on Hollywood hills 😉 )

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    • Hey Joanna! Better late than never! I appreciate any comment. – There is a purpose and a place for all of the images that we get to see of Richard. Whether it is photo calls that advertise his participation in a project, amateur candids that show him interacting with the fans, or studio photographs that show off his bankability as a leading man. I like *any* picture that he’s in – but some more than others.

      Like

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