Emergency *ooof*: Armitage Coming at Us

Do you really think it is just a coincidence that new RARAs are coming out the day after the last in a series of hiatus *ooof*s in which I have expressed a desire to return to the soft polished hotness of a well-executed studio shoot??? (Just kidding, of course it is.) But what a coincidence indeed, as this is happening while my gracious host, the esteemed Servetus, is starring in her own roadmovie and may not mind an extraordinary *ooof*…

My initial response to the newly surfaced shots is unprintable. Since when has swearing become the preferred reaction to the sighting of something irresistably delicious??? Well, ever since this always unexpected onslaught of yet-another-or-four gorgeous photographs. Really, whoever is responsible – this is torture of the most perfidious kind. And one that I am really appreciating, too *ggg*. Just when we thought we had seen it all, the RArmy is thrown into helpless disarray again. Where to start oh where to begin. Five new images have turned up. Not entirely new in the sense that we are already familiar with the backdrops and the settings: sex on legs against a flaky wall, steely RA, some shadowplay in colour, RA in colour on blown-out white and more windowsill goodness. My goodness, indeed. This deserves an emergency *ooof*, methinks. And since the flaky, blown-out white and steely backgrounds have already featured here before, I would like to focus on an image that will give me opportunity to discuss something new. In fact it is a fitting transition image – from the incidental look of the press call images over to the deliberate studio look, as this picture has been taken “on location”, outside a studio – which is the hallmark of a press call image – and yet is still the product of a carefully composed and directed shoot – as we would expect from a studio portrait.

Coming at us? Richard Armitage in an image by Robert Ascroft, 2012
Sourced via tumblr.

The set-up is familiar to us – there are two other images from the same series that have surfaced a while ago. Here we have an outdoor shoot of RA, on a leafy New York street. Incidentally I prefer this version of the image, but for the sake of it, I will concentrate on the newly emerged picture. Because I know that you are more susceptible to new images ;-). So a leafy New York street. Wait – leafy? For the longest time I have always believed that Ascroft’s shoot with RA happened around the time of Armitage’s appearance at the New York premiere of THAUJ. Now, that I am looking at this picture in-depth, I realise that that cannot have been the case. Unless New York plantlife can withhold the seasons. This shoot must have taken place in the (early?) autumn: The trees in the street are still green and in leaf, save for a few leaves that have already withered and are littering the pavement. I sympathise with those leaves – I strongly suspect I would wither in the presence of Mr Armitage, myself. Scorched by his Royal Hotness.

Photography is all about catching the light. So, shooting on a leafy street is challenging. How does Ascroft manage it? Beautifully, of course. It’s actually hard to tell what time of day it is when he is shooting. I would veer towards afternoon/early dusk, but in conditions like a street shaded by trees, you need fill flash even on a bright day because the trees’ shade would not allow for enough light to illuminate the subject. Also, the fact that the previously cited version of the image has the headlights of the red car switched on, push the viewer to believe that this was shot at dusk. – Ascroft lights his subject from above front right: The eyes are by and large free of shadow. Nicely done! Is this an off-camera flash that an assistant is holding? I think so because an on-camera flash would have caught RA straight on. This kind of artificial lighting, however, is noticeable in an outdoor shot – it’s not ideal because it has not *quite* successfully mimicked the natural light (because that would illuminate from straight above). I niggle – because the flash is definitely needed, least of all to create contrast. Where the light hits the subject, it creates sharp outlines, thus setting him off the background. If there was no flash, the eminence grise would blend into the predominently grey background of the dusky street and the concrete pavement.

Using flash also requires fast shutter speeds (usually around 1/160 of a second). In this case, the fast shutter speed also serves another purpose: It freezes movement, whereas a slow shutter spead would record movement as blurry lines. The image is a nicely dynamic one. In fact, it looks as if RA is really caught walking in this shot (as opposed to standing with one foot put forward). Compare the details of wall and the distance between RA and the car in this image with the previously mentioned one – you will see that RA actually *has* moved on a bit. While you are at it – check the other image in highest resolution. The picture betrays a slight fuzziness around Armitage’s head. This is movement, caught on camera, possibly caused by the subject walking. Or is it evidence of camera-shake? That would mean that Ascroft was also moving during this shoot, scurrying backwards (a mental image that I somehow find slightly amusing – a crouched photographer, scuttling backwards, lens pointing at his subject, frantically flashing, “yes Richard, that’s good, just keep walking” until he bumps into a dustbin or something…)

Maybe that whole scenario also accounts for the fact that the image isn’t quite horizontal. The walls of the houses on the left seem to be falling over backwards to the left. Even Richard himself has “lefty leanings” *ggg*. That should/could have been corrected in post-production. The composition of the image has a similar sliiiiiightly off-centre feel to it. While Ascroft has very deliberately composed the image in such a way that RA is bang in the centre of the pavement, he is not in the centre of the image. But well, maybe that is exactly the point: The subtle off-centredness of the image niggles at the back of my mind – and I have to look again to understand what is going on…

My imagination is already running away with me – I must have watched to many fashion shoots, because that is what this image reminds me of, a fashion shoot on an outdoor location. Hence the coaxing photographer in my fantasy. Interesting, that RA is allowed to wear his own clothes in this shoot. Has it been Ilaria-approved? And again, evidence of the artfully arranged bunched up shirt *ggg*. Kidding, that is another detail that subtly supports the impression of dynamics in this image, as the creases look as if they are caused by the walking movement. No doubt, RA would’ve smoothed them down, had he been standing still…

On the subject of the outfit – have you noticed the subtle change? In this image he is wearing a shirt and jumper, whereas he was only wearing a collarless shirt in the older image. Sherlock to the fore! But – my – where did he change? Did he have to go back into the studio to change his shirts? Or did he simply strip down and change shirts on the street. Gasp. The mind boggles!!! Oh, seldom would I have so much loved to be a passer-by…

That imagination of mine charges ahead like a runaway train. But then again, dynamics is what this image really puts across. As we are looking at the subject through the lens of Ascroft, from about chest-level, we have Armitage coming at us. Whooooaaah, nice idea. Especially with that slightly tilted head. Do I detect a predatory gleam in those eyes? *shuddersnicely* The expression is not entirely friendly – is he going to chide us for being in his way? *scared* Maybe he is just wondering what the hell we are doing there, in his path. *smilesencouragingly* Well, nothing can stop you, Mr A. You are on your way, walking ahead, pressing on, to new experiences and heights. Keep coming at us, we won’t hold you back.

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 26, 2013.

47 Responses to “Emergency *ooof*: Armitage Coming at Us”

  1. I am behind reading *ooofs* due to internet issues and RL work and trying to keep up with my own RA blog/FB page demands. But I love this as always. I thought the same thing when I saw this one–the dynamic quality of the shot, the slightly predatory feeling that gives me a certain frisson . . . keep coming straight at me, Mr. A, because frankly I cannot look away. You’ve mesmerized me yet again.

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    • He does it again and again. Or well, maybe Ascroft does it. The latter certainly employs his craft to enhance his subject’s pull. Hard to resist…

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  2. “yes Richard, that’s good, just keep walking” until he bumps into a dustbin or something…) … LOL! 😀
    Big laughs at the end of the post my dear. Thank you as always for your technical analysis of the shot (very interesting the flash thing) and yes… I can imagine a phone-booth and RA as good old Clark Kent undressing and dressing again! Ohhh to be that phone-booth 😛

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    • *teehee* in a phonebooth… Are there such things in NY?
      The best part of looking is always the added fantasy, the spinning out of the story. And that is due to the fascinating subject. Glad you liked my impromptu reaction, micra!! x

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  3. HA!! I strictly avoid to hoot my own horn (well, not really….), but didn’t I tell you on the 18th that you better not rely on being able to get back to normal schedule? 😉
    So only one week later some nice marketinglady / -guy decided it is high time to spoil us with new images – and Guylty knows what she owes her reputation. The Army is lusting for new pics with according new *ooofs. 🙂

    I wonder if there could be even some more motifs around? Maybe we will be surprised by some more settings that we have not seen before?
    It strikes me there’s a very clever strategy behind this. Why do they release the pics via a Russian website? They could as well send them to RAnet or RACentral or put them on their website / facebook – and word would be spread within the hour. Is there a certain Russian Lady or Gent with special connections to very very important people from Mr. A.s personal surrounding?
    And had there been any official use of some of these photos? The only one I have come across so far was in a Korean magazine. The man himself seems to use them for fanpost. But otherwise? Quite a lot of effort……

    I noticed these pictures around four in the afternoon and voilá: Guylty delivers only five hours later. *ggg
    Thanks for taking one for the team.

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    • Hehehe, yes you did predict this, i.f. Are YOU the one behind the strategy??? After all, the hiatus allowed for me to go through three of your preferred press images. And then *booooom* Coincidence???? 😉
      The provenance of the images is a mystery. Or rather: speculation. We discussed it before in the comments of a previous emergency *ooof*. No idea, really. But hey, I am not asking, not complaining, just glad to get new fodder for analysis 🙂

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      • Me? Oh yes, sure. Absolutely. Didn’t I mention I am Head of Marketing of absolutelyfabuloushunk Ltd? We are settled on the Caymans. Therefore the Russian connection. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Oh yes, we are very clever. Next step is the planned takeover of the worldwide cable networks. There will be only one program afterwards. Will be hard times for those who do not admire Mr. Armitage. But the Army will rule. We do not take prisoners.
        *sternbrow

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        • ROFL. Bring it on, i.f.! Absolutelyfabuloushunk Ltd., is that a subsidiary of Talldarkhandsome Brit plc? I hear their shares are rising… I look forward to the dictatorship of the RAletariat!

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          • Ups – where did you get that from? That information is strictly confident! Talldarkhandsome Brit plc is our Headquarters. This is all top secret. Not even the guys at Thames House know of us. There was one agent who came very close at us – but we could manage to put up some smokescreen and discredited him for being someone else than everybody thought. It was a very confusing story – so nobody really got a clue what was really going on. And finally the poor chap had to jump from a rooftop. Sorry for him.

            ups again – the topic of this post is slightly a different one…….

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  4. I saw this on tumblr last night and didn’t even realize it was new! I’ve been “Armitaged” ! I kind of wonder how much foliage was left on the trees after SS Sandy was done? (Late October). Love the discussion as always!

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    • It’s very similar to previous RARA images. I had to check on RAnet to confirm it was a new one. The steel door one and the half-length against the white backdrop are even more gorgeous than this image, but for this one I already had a few ideas in my head…
      Armitaged, armitouched. Totally. UNF.

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  5. I have a “particular” fondness for the shot where he is pulling the coat on 😉 but these street shots are my favorite of the series. I like the natural browns in this one, as opposed to the blue tint that are on some of the others. I’ll admit that I get confused on which ones are new, and which ones are not, because we are getting so many variations on the same poses. I am not complaining though, not at all 🙂

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    • Oh yes, I never got round to talking about the colours. Nicely warm in this. It fits the whole setting of a fall shoot – end of summer, last rays of sun etc.
      In a way I find the street shots are almost like a compromise between the more RL shots of RA at press calls and the sometimes over-produced images from a studio shoot. We have the best of both worlds here – cleaned up, deliberate shots, but in a natural setting. It’s nice to see him in context, rather than just slap bang in front of a bright white wall.

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  6. When I first saw this picture it reminded me of Lucas walking down that Moscow street with the longer black coat. I had been watching a Youtube video with all the Spooks cast in it at the time mostly for Rupert Penry-Jones. I was mesmerized by Lucas walking, so sexy, so I fell for him there. I finally put a time on it, I had seen the video I don’t know how many times, but sometime in the many times watching it I did. Until now I really didn’t have a time, I thought it had just crept up on me. I guess in a way it did.

    So Guyly emergency *ooof* any time you feel the need. I will be willing to read them.

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    • Yeah, this is reminiscent of the Moscow scenes, I guess. Haha, Lucas North on the catwalk. Strutting his stuff. “I am too sexy for this coat”… yeah, right.
      Thanks, Katie, for being such an encouraging reader. It is really lovely of you (and all others) to read and interact with me. It makes it exciting and fun. xx

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  7. Yay! unexpected *ooof* I love it, thank you Guylty 🙂
    My first reaction to this kind of “predatory” look is fits of giggle ( maybe these butterflies in my stomach tickles me? 😉 )…but to tell the truth deep down in my heart I *ooof* heavily 😀
    My Mark expressed interest in such a coat…ehem..who want to buy an “adult” car and middle-aged kidney? (both well maintained)

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    • haha, channelling the nervous teenager there, Joanna? I know where you are coming from, I’d be blushing from the sidelines, probably.
      As for the coat – pssst, I am not fond of it *at all*. I just don’t really like the waistline of it. I like RA better in his tight little Belstaff numbers. But yeah, they cost a bomb, too, just like a Burberry coat. I really hope you can hang on to your kidneys – unless it was your husband’s kidneys you were talking about??

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      • LOL! I was talking about my kidney,you naughty girl!
        I like those so tight and so short leather jackets too, they underlines nicely his…assets 😉 Richard’s intensional action?

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        • Judging from some of the candid images that we saw of him (at that leather jacket store in NY, for instance), one would think that RA does indeed like to show off his assets, hairy, lithe and all… 😀

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  8. Just another short notice on a thought that already crossed my brains for a second. It’s about the time these pictures had been taken. Early / late autum 2012? Wearing a coat that is at least 2 years old (or more)? And therefore maybe not really Ilaria-approved (but pics still used for official press-and marketingmaterial)? Because I wonder if she really agreed on this piece of fashionstatement. No matter what tag – I don’t think this is the best look for him.
    So maybe these pictures are far older than autum 12? Would explain why I always get the strange feeling it’s not him. He looks so far different (and younger) from the photos being taken around the pressjunket in Dec 12 – I wonder if this is really only down to the magic of photoshopping.
    But on the other hand – why wait for two years or so with the release? Doesn’t make too much sense…

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    • Interesting thought, i.f., but I can’t believe that a photographer of Ascroft’s ilk and reputation would leave a shoot to rot for a couple of years in his archive. Even if he gets paid regardless. I fully believe this shoot took place in autumn 2012 – if anything, then Richard’s hairstyle is an indication, I suppose. His Elvis quiff made its appearance just about then…
      As for the coat – Ilaria or not, it was a big brand name piece of clothing. I suppose that usually guarantees that it is fashionable enough *ggg*. (Agreeing with you – I don’t like it either…)

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      • Your absolutely right. The hairline is pretty much the same as in the FAULT shooting.
        And dare I say this hairline is really supersexy. And I mean really as in REALLY.

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        • We are destined to differ, i.f. 😀 I preferred his wild bangs to the sleek quiff. (Soundtrack to my statement: “Bang bang, my baby shot me down” by Nancy Sinatra *whooop* LOL)

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    • I really doubt that this pix are approaching three years old. For one thing — why would Armitage have wanted pix of himself from a fashion photog that were two years old by the time they were destined to appear? The style of fashion photography changes with time as well.

      Second: the coat is a *total* classic in manufacture and styling (though it may not be to our personal tastes). People in the know immediately recognize it as Burberry with all that goes with that. Buying a piece like that (1300 GBP retail) is really an investment. There were signs in 2010 that his clothing game was improving — as if he had hired a personal shopper from Harrod’s to help him, for instance, and I think that someone must have suggested this to him as it’s different than almost everything else he’d worn earlier or since. The point about wearing classic styling as opposed to personal taste is one that I’ve been trying to make in these fashion posts — with most of his wardrobe choices since the middle of 2010, the point is the styling. To compare it to art — this is like buying a Jackson Pollock. You may not like it yourself but you recognize the artistry.

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      • I have to give some love to the Burberry. I liked it from the first time I noticed it when he did the 24 hour gala in Nov. 2011 and I’m glad to see him wearing it still. It’s timeless, and I think buttoned up it would look less boxy due to the tailored waist.

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      • Burberry and/versus Jackson Pollock – interesting match D:-) … Thank you all for your really interesting comments and once more thank you, guylty, for the oof! I like the coat – RA seems to feel comfortable wearing it and it suits him. Hope he did not have to keep the knitted Louis Vuitton cardigan from the Nylon Guys Magazine interview btw… But tastes differ and so it should be. And I agree with you, i.f., he seems to be much younger, more or less timeless in these photos! I really appreciate the different photographic styles we have been presented recently. RA – a time-travelling chamaeleon, fit for all kinds of roles and perspectives. The world is ahead. (Sorry, may sound slightly pathetic … oops.).

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        • That’s true, actually – he seems to like the coat, and that is good. It’s been a good investment then. 1300 GBP OMG! He better wear that to death.

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          • Ha ha ha !He will be 😀 look at ‘Kelly’ and some famous boots 😉

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            • Why is that bag called “Kelly”, by the way? – A good bag and good shoes can last forever, though. They seem to be slightly less fashion-dependant than clothes.

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              • I can’t believe my silliness has made it’s way over here *blushes* if you’re talking about the “Kelly” attache case, I said it should have a name (like “Matilda” is a napsack 😉 ) so I graciously suggested mine *laughs*

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                • LOL – you are welcome to spread your silliness on my posts *any* time! I love silliness (Life is serious enough. We need to lighten it up.). Anyway, delighted to be on first-name terms with you now, Kelly. It feels better to use that then your blogger handle… 🙂
                  On the subject of naming things: I am fan of that. (My camera, for instance, is called “Marky Mark”.) Although in this instance I thought of the other famous Kelly Bags – which an attaché case quite clearly is not…

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                  • Ha! seconds after I hit reply I thought, “wait, maybe there IS a Kelly bag, better check!” so I googled it & up came a billion entries for bags,boots, etc. I am not fashion conscious, but apparently my “warrior princess” namesake is *laughs*

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                    • You didn’t know the Kelly Bag??? Famous, classic fashion item. I think, it was named after Grace Kelly.

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                    • I don’t carry a purse. I’m a wallet-in-the-backpocket kind of gal 😉

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                    • I used to be like that until I had kids. The baby paraphernalia forced me to carry some kind of bag and I got used to it. Although my kids are far from being babies at this stage, I still carry luggage-size bags with me at all times *lol*, but now it mainly holds photography paraphernalia – camera, lens, brush, notebook, filters, you name it. I wish I *did* have a Kelly bag with a shoulder strap – one classy camera bag that would make… Mind you, the Kelly bag is made by Hermès and retails at mindblowing $ 4.900… I’d rather invest that in a Hasselblad 😉

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                    • when given actual room to fill things with, I suddenly turn into a survivalist and imagine every possible scenario of what I “might” need; it’s ridiculous! *laughs* so now that my kids are older, I just rely on pockets instead 🙂

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          • I doubt he paid retail 🙂

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  9. The other thing that occurs to me — he told one of the fans he met in MI in the summer (maybe Awk?) that he was flying to NYC for a weekend. And I forget when exactly Black Skies wrapped but it would have been late August, no? In which case he could easily have been in NYC in late August and those leaves would be consistent …

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  10. Excuse me if this has been covered (this has been on my mind but I didn’t have a chance to reread, so if you said this already just bop me on the head) — do you think this could be a moment like your very first *ooof* — i.e., the shutter fell at a second the photographer wasn’t planning?

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    • Apologies for late reply, Serv (was off comms in N. Ireland for a weekend of sunbathing *gasps*) – fluke is always possible, although I am not quite sure what in this picture you might find particularly unplanned?

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  11. […] a wall with peeling paint in various poses, he had him perch in front of a window, and he took him outdoors on the street in a coat. Dunn did the same here – she shot the ubiquitous blown-out white backdrops, she […]

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  12. […] with a classic and classy approach. ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof […]

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