*ooof*: Armitage à la Surprise

It may or may not come as a surprise to you that I sometimes have difficulties finding something suitably *ooof*y to say. Don’t get me wrong – every picture of RA has an inherent *ooof* factor, just by virtue of containing him. That’s the prerogative of the fangirl. And yet, not all images that we get to see of him make me drool, swoon admire in appreciation. That is the critical eye of the photographer. And thus I occasionally find myself schizophrenically sitting on a fence: I am delighted to see new material, and cannot wait to re-blog and share. But when it comes to analysing them in-depth, I reluctantly dawdle. That is certainly the case with the now-surfaced images by Ben Rayner which popped up over the weekend – and the reason for a slightly delayed *ooof* which is not appearing at 10 am GMT on-the-dot on this *ooof*Tuesday. Therefore I jumped at the bone that Perry of Armitage Agonistes threw at me, when she suggested the “Halloween Store” image from the Ben Rayner cache of images. And yet I experienced this *ooof* as a challenge, because even at first sight and without examining the technicalities I didn’t like the *beeeep* and the *beeeep*, and I am not sure of the *beeeep*. [Sorry, this had to be blanked out because I do not want to prejudice you with my subjective opinion before I have even started on the basics of the image.]

BenRayner-06A Halloween Surprise with Richard Armitage. Photograph by Ben Rayner, 2012. Source.

What we have here is an image of Richard Armitage, posing in a knitted cardigan/sweater. He is pictured in what appears to be a Halloween stall, holding an object that looks like a tombstone. His body is turned sideways, giving us a three-quarter, half-length view of himself, with his head turned towards the camera but an off-camera gaze. The very busy setting in front of the Halloween stall does little for the aesthetics of the picture except date it to October 2012 (if we assume that a Halloween stall is a seasonal occurrence).

The image is probably taken indoors: If you look at Armitage’s skin, you will notice a reddish hue. It is not unnaturally discoloured, but arguably different from the hue of the sitter’s skin in the other images that were taken in the same series of shots. (Cf. here on RAnet). This, as so often, is due to the interference of different lightsources with each other. To explain this, here are a few basics: Light, as you may know, comes in different intensity or levels of “warmths”. Colour temperature, as it is called, measures the intensity of light and is basically defined by the various different ratios of blue and red light to each other (I am simplifying). Although light appears to be “white”, it contains a whole spectrum of hues. Candlelight, for instance, has a different ratio of red versus blue light than sunlight. The intensity is measured in Kelvin, and the sun is the hottest light there is with approx. 12.000K. A candle has a mere tenth of that intensity. – In analogue photography, different types of films were developed which took light intensity into account. There was film for daylight, and film for tungsten light (tungsten being the conventionally used electric light bulbs). Digital photography does not deal with a chemically coated, light-sensitive surface anymore, and so the intensity of light is determined by the camera in order to process the image for a visual reproduction as close to reality as possible. The photographer can also set the White Balance (WB) manually and inform the camera about the light intensity. That is what the little icons on your camera are for: When you shoot in bright sunshine, you ought to set the dial to the sun icon. When you are shooting inside, you click the little bulb icon. And when you are using flash, you should set the White Balance on the lightning icon. The processor of your camera will then adapt the image accordingly and recreate the image as naturally as possible. (You can safely leave your camera on automatic WB if you are not adventurous, btw. If you are interested in photography, however, you should experiment with WB to understand the impact the wrong settings have: Take your camera and photograph the same view, changing the WB for each shot. You will get a different colour hue on each image.) So far so good. Except that the camera is as stupid as a computer – and easily gets thrown off when more than just one lightsource illuminate an image. The result are unsightly, unrealistic hues – which we most often pick out on the colour of skin in portraits. (A prime example for an image that imo suffers from white balance confusion can be seen in this image, previously *spooof*ed by me – an unnatural orange hue.) If you compare the images of the “sweater” series, you will see that those shots that were taken outside (and thus presumably were illuminated only by the sun) have a “bluer” hue than the Halloween stall image. An indication that the Halloween shot was probably illuminated by both natural light, as well as another light source that interferes with the camera’s pre-set WB – and makes Armitage’s skin look redder, more orangey in this image than in the outdoor shots.

Whoa. That was quite scientific, wasn’t it? With that out of the way we can relax into a more subjective content review. I am not mad about the setting of the image – lots of items of different colours are dotted in the background of the image – we can make out white ghosts, ornate picture frames with eerie images in them, tombstone replicas, a poster featuring a skull. In order to distract from the busy background, the photographer has shot this image at a large aperture, blurring out what is behind Armitage. However, the focus plane also includes everything that is in close proximity to him, i.e. the headstone tablet which features some text. On the other hand, the image very successfully puts the subject in a concrete context. It creates a story around the sitter that is very easy to discern. Here we have a man who is perusing the gimmicks and gadgets in a funny speciality store, an informal occasion in a relaxing environment. Fittingly, Armitage has been clothed informally – the sweater, although an expensive design brand, and the denim trousers are casualwear.

Whether you like the styling or not (I, for one, am not really that enamoured with this bulky cardigan-and-half-a-sheep-on-the-collar), the image has the potential to “swoonate” you. Hand-fetishists sit up: Thanks to the shallow depth of field, Armitage’s hand is rather prominent. Not a bad thing when one possesses a nice hand-wrist combo like Armitage. What draws me, personally, to the image is the curve of Armitage’s luscious bottom body shape. I am particularly attracted by/to the area where the edge of the cardigan meets with the trousers and that scrunched up t-shirt peeks from below. I may be sensing the lean, tight set of hips underneath the fabric, or I see the peeking shirt as another example of the adorable lack of attention to detail/awareness of fashion in the sitter (which is rubbish, as there must have been a stylist present). My knowledge of masculine bodies the world tells me what it feels like to touch the hipbone at that spot (ooolálá), and in my imagination I stroke my thumb over the jutting hipbone, one of my favourite spots on the male physique (yeah, I know, I am a freak), feeling hardness under soft skin. Coupled with the slightly surprised expression on the sitter’s face – the raised eyebrows, the crumpled forehead, the caught-in-the-movement turn of the head, my imagined carress takes on the air of a delicious, forbidden surprise.

31st of October, half past four in the afternoon. My boss had let us all go early because it was Halloween, and most of us were heading to a monstrous party that evening. On my way home, I decided to stop at a Halloween store that had popped up around the corner from my office, in the hope of picking up a little seasonal, gimmicky gift for the hosts of the party I was going to later that night. “Lots of junk, I thought to myself”, as I entered the shop. “Will I find anything in here? Why did I leave it this late to get a pressie? Plus, I am not the only one, getting some kind of small present or last minute decoration.” Too many last-minute shoppers squeezed by each other in the tight space of the overfull shop. I perused the knic-knacks and decorations on offer. “Ghosts, posters, plastic spiders, a giant severed hand seeping blood *yum*, lots of webbing, a pair of denim peaches… Wait, wot?” My gaze got stuck on a handsome bottom, a hand’s reach away from me. “Snugly packaged”, I appreciatively pondered. “Broad shoulders, mhhh. Tight haircut. Nicely tall!!!” My assessment was going overdrive. “I love tight jeans on slim, athletic hips.” I found myself edging surreptitiously closer, covered by the throng of the shop. “I’d love to feel *that* spot. Where the hipbone meets the loins. Bone beside soft flesh.” I came closer, just centimetres away from the broad, beknitted shoulders. I was so close that I could smell a faint whiff of cologne from the handsomely be-bottomed stranger. If I wanted to get past him in the overcrowded shop, I would have to brush along him, anyway. With the unaffected non-chalance of a polite fellow-customer, I whispered a quick “Pardon” and simultaneously placed my right hand on the stranger’s hipbone, signalling my intent to pass and indicating a request to make room. I skimmed the hollow between his hipbone and his loins with my thumb for the merest, briefest second, and brushed past, as his head shot up. I could feel his eyes on my back, lit up by surprise and confusion as I innocently made my way out of the shop…

*ooof* That was unexpected. I didn’t really set out to go this way with my *ooof*. And let me hasten to add that I do not customarily sexually harrass unsuspecting strangers, handsome or not, and have no intention of doing so in the future, Armitage or not. *Especially* not Armitage! The recent news about the wonderful letter he wrote to a fan who had met him on the set of The Hobbit reinforces my suspicion interpretation that he is a caring, decent human being. As such he deserves better than me accosting him. At least not in such a scenario, which has been purely invented for the pleasure of imagining. Happy to share, though.

Edit: Would you like to know what the story looked like from the other POV? Well, Judiang wrote it up. Check out “The Man” on her blog! Beautifully written and deliciously imagined. I regret nothing 😉 !

On the subject of sharing and respecting privacy, and on the delight of receiving letters – the lovely Samm, who was the recipient of Armitage’s letter, had kindly shared her delight with the fandom but was a bit overwhelmed by the response and curiosity it provoked. She has subsequently withdrawn her initial post for privacy reasons – after it had already received 5k+ notes and a huge amount of re-blogs on tumblr. After The Arkenstone pointed it out, I’d like to share her request for privacy here and ask anyone who re-blogged her post to kindly delete it. Some things only belong to the receiver and/or creator of a moment. Let’s respect that.

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 August 27, 2013.

104 Responses to “*ooof*: Armitage à la Surprise”

  1. I wrote a chapter in my new story it has a couple of pub owners called Servetus and Aguyltyia….hee hee hee (won’t publish without your ok.

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    • Wot? Wot? WOT? (Sorry for screaming, but I am squeeing with delight, Arkie!!!!) Publish away, my dear – I am dying with curiosity now! ooooh, chuffffffffffffffffffffffffed! xx

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  2. Guylty, as part of a video production company now, I truly appreciate what WB does. If our three cameras are not in agreement on this matter, we can get very different results filming the same scene. 😉

    I love your fan ficlet–yes, I think you should keep on with this renewed interest in creative writing! 😀

    That sweater jacket thingy is just TOO much–and let it be said I usually like Nordicy-ski patterny stuff. Have a soft spot for it. But not this. He manages to look gorgeous, of course, no matter what, and yes, I do appreciate the, er, lines of his masculine physique. Brava for you managing a very interesting *ooof* from a challenging group of photos. *two enthusiastic thumbs up from fedoralady*

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    • Yup – WB is part of any professional photography, stills or moving. Video has a tendency to react a little bit easier/better to light interference, but it is part of the whole pre-production re-con to check it out. And if not taken into account, the results can be really horrible, as you can probably confirm. It’s great though that technology has progressed so far and a lot of technicalities can be set automatically.
      I’ll say it again – the nice feedback coming from you re my attempts at fictionalising the images, is especially satisfying and encouraging. Thank you loads, Angie! xx
      And glad I am not alone with my abhorrence of the sweater thingie. Ugh. No likey. I have the feeling that he doesn’t really like it either – just the way he holds himself is very clearly non-Richard. Clothes and inner balance/confidence are quite closely connected, I think. And I suspect he doesn’t feel quite comfy in this outfit. – But heck, could be just me imagining that because I don’t like the woolly monstrosity.

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      • It’s one of the things on our pre-event checklist—check out the WB! Unfortunately, Harry has a tendency to somehow inadvertently bump his lever and that has caused a few problems . . . however, the GOOD side of shooting with three cameras is not only giving the customer different vantage points in the DVD; it also allows us to NOT use certain footage that may not be “up to snuff.” And of course, there are always the unplanned occurrences—part of one of the tripods came off when they were setting things up last week. Fortunately, they had a back-up tripod. So plan ahead and have a plan B—just in case!

        I am happy to be able to encourage you in your writing endeavors—I wouldn’t say so if I didn’t like it, hon, I promise.

        I wondered if I was just reading my dislike of the Wooly Mammoth sweater into my perception of the photos, but several discerning individuals have expressed a similar view. He just doesn’t look comfortable to me. He’s a trouper about it all, no doubt, but these don’t look like things RA would choose for himself IMHO—not when I compare them with his classic leather jackets or that nice Burberry coat. And this is another occasion when I must give a shout-out for Ilaria—whether or not you think she is dressing a “42 year old as a 22 year old” as someone on FB said, Richard, by and large, looks and behaves like a confident man comfortable in his own skin in her choices. Which only enhances his attractiveness. And we all know he doesn’t “feel” his age, anyway.

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        • I have to agree with you Angie – Ilaria has been doing a good job. I don’t think at all that she dresses him too young. 30, 40, 50 – I don’t really think age matters all that much nowadays, folly of teenage/twen fashion withstanding. And even though there were a couple of outfits I personally did not like, I have to say he looked comfy in them. And that is actually what counts – you have to feel happy in what you are wearing, otherwise you can’t come across as comfortable in your skin. Unless you are an actor… *ahem* But these are not character shots but shots of a RL person, and that is why I have that weird impression he’s not really inhabiting those clothes. He slightly hunches his shoulders, draws his head down, something subtle in the pose and in the look in his eyes… Hard to pin down.

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        • I’ve pretty much kept my mouth shut about the sweater. But– Doesn’t it look like it’s too small for him? Maybe that’s why it looks so — un-RA? Besides it’s ugly as sin…even if it’s LV.

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  3. “What just happened?” he’s thinking. What do you think the photographer was thinking when he posed the subject in such a busy setting? By the way, here in NY Halloween stuff will be in stores next weekend, and Thanksgiving stuff not that far afterwards.
    As usual, Guylty, an insightful and interesting post. Silk purse from sow’s ear. Thanks for taking up my challenge.

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    • Thanks to YOU, Perry, for pushing me in that direction. I would’ve never found my thoughts wandering to the hollow between hip and loin if I had continued to disregard the images because of my dislike of the sweater…
      As for the setting and the photographer’s thoughts behind it – I would guess he simply tried different settings for the same clothes, trying to get a few variations on the theme. This is not the best one. He may have decided himself that he wasn’t going to pass that on for publication. I do like the one against the fence, though!
      Oh and Halloween stuff now already? Ugh, too early…

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  4. That was a perfectly delightful oof! I love it when we end up somewhere we didn’t know we were going. What a fresh little trip that was and I’ll never complain about the sweater pictures again…now that I notice the ‘scrunched’ t-shirt and understand the look on his face. Loved it.

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    • You are so right, Carly – it is great when one ends up on an unexpected journey 😉 Improvisation and spontaneity are actually quite inspiring, I find. Both in photography as well as in writing. Glad you liked it, especially my focus on the scrunched up t-shirt…

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  5. Oh my goodness. My bleary eyes elided the noisy background, the awful sweater, even the bleached but beautiful face and went *straight* to that sensitive spot between hipbone and groin. Then I read your mischievous ficlet … evidence, surely, the RA community has gone beyond a fandom and is now a cosmic collective consciousness in which our thoughts commune!
    The sweater. Are those dancing Ls I see above the giant Vs? Does this mean that as well as being garish and horrible in its own right it is also by Louis Vuitton, which IMO makes it completely crass and beyond redemption? Unless LV is going through some ironic reappraisal, which I doubt. Darling RA needs to unpack his Burberry overcoat.

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    • Yep, It’s LV for the designer, and the very ostentatious quality it exudes makes it so anti-RA for me. Kanye “Look at MEEEEE!” West would wear it in a heartbeat. Richard–nah. Give me the Burberry and his leather jackets
      every time.

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      • So awful. When I think of LV I think of those brown handbags whose counterfeits are $10 in the stalls down the back lanes of Hong Kong. Are these sweaters seriously in fashion in the US?

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        • Hmmmm, not really. Although being in Alabama I am not exactly in the fashion capital of our nation. However, I do sort of keep up with fashion trends re magazines and internet, and can’t say I’ve seen this. Although, again, men’s fashions I am not as up on as women’s.

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          • Sometimes when things are so yuck they make mainstream folk shudder, you can bet they’re about to have a hipster-led revival. (It’s happening in Australia with 19th century bushranger beards … urrrgh.) If RA starts a bad-sweater trend, I hope LV pays him top dollar for his efforts.

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            • Yeah, LV is not exactly my idea of classy (anymore). Too many cheap copies. But as you said, Groovy, the hipsters pick up some ridiculous extreme of past fashion – and all of a sudden it is in again. Like bellbottoms in the 90s. Or those stupid tulip skirts from the 80s. Ugh. And too right – if being forced to wear dead sheep, at least pay handsomely.

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      • I agree. I love the colour blue in the sweater, but the rest of it is just over the top. The Burberry, the Belstaff, and the leather are much more appealing, and I think Richard likes them better, too. For all his claim that he lost his fashion sense, I think he knows when he looks good, and Ilaria Urbinati has reinforced that.

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        • The blue is great and a wonderful color on him—the rest, nope. I know from my own experience with Benny that even a man who doesn’t consider himself to be a fashion maven has a feel for what works for him and looks best on him and in turn, looks and feels more attractive when he’s dressed in a way that suits him. And that channels itself into photos . . .

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          • As a woman, I would also put myself into that category (not much fashion sense). But I know *exactly* what I feel good in and what makes me feel like an impostor. A sensitive guy like RA probably also picks that up. Plus, after years in the business, he should also have picked up a general sense of how people look at him and what that signals…

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        • Blue is nice (although I am a black-lover).
          I think that even people who do not or claim to have no fashion sense can sense from the reaction of others how attractively they have dressed themselves. Black is of course always an easy choice (maybe that’s why he used to wear it a lot), and you can’t do much wrong with it. Ilaria certainly has reinforced his own sense of fashion, I’d say.

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    • “a cosmic collective consciousness in which our thoughts commune” LOL and yes, Groovie!!! Does that mean that you favour that particular spot, too? Great minds etc… And I would like to see the Belstaff gear back. Pronto!

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    • The ideal model for this sweater was someone younger and skinnier. On someone like that, the sweater would look great, with skinny jeans and sneakers, as seen in their 2012 pre-collection Autumn/Winter catalog here.

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  6. Forgive me for focusing on that one thing. That very thing, now that you have mentioned it, which makes me aware that there must be others out there like us that have “a thing”, in the same way that you and I do, about that very space. That slight, soft indenture that meets the hard protrusion that is the pelvic bone, along with said bone, which exists almost right at the universally appreciated developed “V” muscle. Yes, I too love that thing.

    I love it almost as much as that space at the V beneath the throat. That yielding, shallow space – just below the Adam’s apple, along with said male laryngeal prominence – right above the clavicle and with it the protrusion and hardness of said clavicle bone.

    Why these things?! Why do they bring on memories of how they look, feel and – in some cases, such as mine 😉 – taste?

    Might it be that V? That directional member of the alphabet that perpetually points South – a direction on the topographical map of the human body where most everyone wishes to travel? 🙂

    Deep, deep *sigh*.

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  7. Frottering a strange in a specialty shop. Tsk tsk tsk. 😉 See there, you’re very good with ficlets yourself. Looking forward to more.

    I found all those pics a horror, every last one.

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    • I agree, the pics were as awful as the outfit. Actually, there may be a connection between the horrors of the images and the horrors lurking in the Halloween store. But I have to give a shout out to guylty for finding the silver lining (or should I say hipbone) of beauty in a monstrous photo.

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      • Thanks, Kathy – hehe, in a way it is all very organic: the horrible outfit in a little shop of horrors. Maybe I should’ve called this “*ooof*: Armitage in the little (shop of) horror”. Would’ve been equally fitting.

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    • Ah, frottering is the word? See, I knew it was going to be educational, becoming a member in a fandom. My vocabulary is constantly expanding, thanks to RA and his educated followers 🙂 Thanks for your support, Judi – although you are not off the hook! I love your “The Man” stories. They are yours alone, hence I am avoiding to use the moniker. But I would love to read more from you – they always have a brilliant twist.

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      • Yes, it’s called frotteurism. The funny thing is I’d written a story (in my head) in which he gets touched in a crowded train and here you came, with said lass in a Halloween shop. I like yours better. 🙂

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        • I too learned something here today. So, frotteurism – that would be wanting to touch anything related to the groin area of a complete stranger in a fetishistic way? Well other than Guylty’s lovely ficlet, I don’t believe I have yet imagined doing something like that. I think – and there is no judgment here – for me, I can’t and won’t touch someone without out their permission, if my intent were anything other that an innocent “excuse me” on a shoulder. But I’m not a complete Polyanna – a few select gentleman were “thought of” as I was shoulder-touching, but it had nothing directly to do with their groins. Mostly.

          Now, on the flipside – When I was 20-ish, I was victim to this rather prevalent practice (that now has a name thanks to Judiang :)) which exists in the metros of Mexico City. Is was positively mortifying at the time, because they came from every angle – no. pun. intended.

          Now if, it happened today, I would simply turn to them and ask “So, are you done yet?”

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          • Oh, no doubt about it – my ficlet, naughty and titillating as it was – described something that could be construed as sexual harrassment. Which I do not condone. And again – I don’t touch people against their will. Apart from the sexual harrassment it is also rude and patronizing, so NO!
            (I did actually feel a bit bad writing the ficlet because it reminded me of an incidenet when I was travelling on a city bus in Rome and subjected to sexual harrassment. My reaction *was* surprise and confusion – and then shame and blame. So I understand where you are coming from.)
            Just fiction.

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        • Oh nononono, I would have preferred to read yours! But I am consoled by “great minds…” 😉

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      • Okay, I went ahead and wrote something. I blame YOU. 😉

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        • I regret nothing! 😀 At least not when this kind of thing is the reaction to my silliness. It is why I love the Army. Collaboration, mutual inspiration, shared fun. That kind of thing. And great writers.
          Really brilliant, Judi – I have linked to your post now, too, because it would be a shame to miss it. Thanks for being in inspired to write the companion-piece !

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  8. Thank you for this *ooof*! You’re right, the peeking shirt is an eye-catcher and helps to forget that sweater… I like the wrist and hand as well, but one thing that’s really bugging me about this picture is that to me, it looks like he’s not actually holding the tombstone, but rather putting his fingers loosely on it. Maybe it’s on some kind of hidden frame, but it looks a bit weird.

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    • Those tacky Halloween lawn tombstones are usually made of low grade Styrofoam, so it may be because they are so light. The index finger does look as if it is applying some pressure to grasp it. But I do agree that the shadows cast do look odd. Guylty? What do you think? Lighting source(s) creating a false optical illusion?

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      • I think he is definitely holding it lightly – but there is also a bit of an optical illusion in that the hand appears larger than it is, possibly due to the light catching it full on, but also because the hand is slightly closer to the camera than the face and body. The shadow makes the hand look enormous, as if there are no individual fingers but one massive paw. Funny.

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    • You know what, Allalbavincero – I had the same impression. To me it looked as if the tombstone was made of styrofoam and was dangling from a little hook, hence he only held it so lightly. Thanks for commenting!

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      • Ah, if the tombstone is dangling from a hook, then his hand posture actually makes sense. Still looks a bit odd, but that’s probably due to the shadows. Thanks, guylty!

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  9. Guylty, your ficlet is the best part of the photo. Not only is the sweater atrocious, so are the jeans he’s wearing since they make his gorgeous long legs look like stumps.

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    • I agree, Red. They even failed with the blue jeans. Guylty’s ficlet and her explanation of the importance of white balance were by far the best things for me!!

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    • Thanks Little Red *blushes*. I have to admit, writing the ficlet turned out to be the best part for me, too :-D.
      I am not quite with you on the jeans, though – I like them, although they could be slightly more snug under the posterior *coughs*. There is a bit of stumpiness, yes, but I think that is also caused by the shadow on the front which obscures the two individual legs and makes his limbs look like one massive trunk of a tree.

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      • My comment about the jeans is based on the other photos from this shoot. In this particular photo, the jeans aren’t prominent since he gets cut off below the hip. In the other photos, the sweater combined with the jeans just completely throw his silhouette out of balance.

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        • Oh, sorry, Little Red, didn’t realise. I just re-checked the other images. The jeans are nicely tight around waist/hips (and even the crotch – yeah, I admit my gaze strayed…) but the legs are weird. Too wide? Too long? Especially in the shot with the coat in its full glory, the trouser legs seem to bunch up – is he wearing wellies and the trousers don’t fit over the wellie-top? (kidding).

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          • It just occurred to me (after a good night’s sleep) that these clothes might not be a fashion statement after all but are actually a pre-Halloween disguise — something so non-RA that RA thinks he can safely go forth looking like an average slob and mooch about undetected in tacky prop shops. Unfortunately the Armitagean posterior *ahem*, the thighs of steel *crossesownthighstightly* and the powerful stance of those mighty, denim-clad hips blow his cover.

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            • LOL – haha, you don’t believe that, Groovie – as you said yourself, nothing can mask the splendidness that is RA *ggg*. Although I like the idea of a lurking, disguised RA, sussing out RL under the mask of Mr Unknown Hottie. Well – I am thinking of Judiangs The Man scenarios. The whole idea is a bit of a headf*ck if you pardon me saying so. But then again, there is something to be said for that…

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  10. Oh that was lovely, truly lovely. I have a great interest in photography and appreciated the info gathered here as a newbie to it all. The “chance” encounter scene very nicely set and well I’m not sure that was or would be such a bad thing. LOL. I mean it was just a fleeting touch and it was crowded wasn’t it? Definitely that sweater is too small but yes it does define that area very well.

    Agreed Samm’s privacy is very important to us all and should be observed. Those of us who were granted the privilege of seeing that missive know what a truly great group of people these guys are.

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    • Hello Peggy – thanks for commenting. Yeah, I am still debating in my mind whether the whole scene is sexual harrassment or sexual enjoyment. Well, depends on the POV, I guess.

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  11. Guylty, as you point out, you had some “problems” with this subject…. LOL
    Still ever so much information and a “Lockerungsübung(!)” to read.
    There is almost nothing else/new to add to all the well-put comments about this extremely expensive and gaudily patterned sweater with those shrieking ostentiously put brand letters… (After all I like RA in blue!) Though actually I remember seeing more really (ugly) striking, bulky-styled sweaters with the oddest colour combinations in last autumns` fashion magazines.


    Now (as always!), when looking for examples I can’t find any ludicrous ones!!
    When those new pics surfaced on the weekend, I first searched for some information about Ben Rayner. Most of the photos I found were particularly about and/or directed to a younger audience. He (long hair, long beard!!!) seems to represent the rock music genre/popculture (or how should I call it? It reminded me so much of the middle/late 90s) and he seems specialised on taking pics of youngsters/musicians/hipsters out on the streets. Initially it would not make me think of RA, but maybe that’s why his agents wanted him to be present in Nylon-magazine. He should stand for: cool (ok, RA is def cool!!), trendy, hip young urban style, I-imperative-want-to-be-in-on-it….. (NY LON(don)- The places to be!!) Gosh, I used to buy this kind of magazines a lot, but now I’m obviously no longer the target audience (cough!!) as they do nothing for me any more. Yeah and yet all this is not RA (for me). That is why he seems to feel like a stranger in most of the shoots. It’s the first time that the expressions „stiff“ or „wooden“ could possibly fit here (Don’t beat me for that! This had been said related to RA in other coherences). „Misplaced“ is probably the best way to phrase it. Especially when looking at the pic you „oooofed“ today. Nevertheless his hand is a delicious bonus/sight and I really want to grab and fondle/hold it (as long a possible!!) Then, I better do not think overly clear about the other parts you were (so tantalising) fantasising about….
    Guylty, in point of fact, didn’t they choose the best shot out of those that we have seen, to be published in the Jan2013 issue?
    OTOH, this one I likey!!! (as we should not be too negative !!! LOL Lovely crinkles! http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2012Promo/album/BenRayner-09.jpg
    😀

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    • Hello Linda – back from the big smoke? Thanks for your detailed comment! Let’s go through it one by one 😉
      Fashion-fiend that I am I was not even aware that garish, loud patterns were a trend last autumn. Yuk – still not convinced.
      You certainly got one over me for looking up Rayner. I had not done that (bad, bad research, Guylty!!!). But that is already an indication how little I liked this photo and the shoot in general – I was simply not interested enough in the photographer. But the information you have unearthed is very interesting re. intended message of photos. I think, RA is well beyond the hipster stage, however ageless he appears or feels. The reason he appears in hipster magazines such as Nylon, is his participation in TH: Since “geek = good” is the current trend, all things Tolkien and Peter Jackson seems permissable in publications that would’ve previously shunned bookish, nerdy, speciality subjects. As much as *we* like the air of gentleman and decent human being that he exudes – not really the kind of image hipster mags purport?!
      However, I think you make a few interesting points re. a possible image change that his PR people might like to make. The choice of photographer for the shoot, though, is probably not one made by RA’s publicity people. Even though there was not a full fashion editorial with this shoot anywhere, I still imagine that Rayner was brought in by the magazine. They decided on the clothes, too, I would guess, and RA was brought in to be interviewed and photographed. (It would be really interesting to know how these things work – who hires whom, what intention, what is the main focus etc. Probably varies from shoot to shoot, and magazine to magazine). I also think that RA would have been paid to be photographed – whereas celebrities do not get paid for being interviewed.
      As regards the final choice of the image for the magazine – ok, this is purely personal reference, but if we are talking about the best image of the “garish sweater”-series, my favourite would be the one where he is photographed standing in front of a fence: Sweater all visible in shot, suitably informal background that is not distracting, nicely casual pose (plus some yummy, fantasy inducing full-frontal hipbone-loin love *ahem*). In general I liked the images of RA in coat much better – it is clear that he felt much more comfortable in that costume, therefore the whole series looks better.
      Phew – exhaustive answer 😉 – have I covered it all?
      xx

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      • No, actually I’m still IN the big smoke!! I soon let you know some details.
        Yes, your answers are very detailed and nearly exhaustive. 😀 Indeed it would be interesting to know how all this shootings are arranged and who is hiring whom and who is paying whom and why. Their intentions are doubtless all august and all this efforts are made to please us and keep us ladies in line out there in RA-world. LOL The pic you are referring to, is it that one with RA having his hands in his pockets and looking rather pale??

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  12. I am not a negative person, but that sweater belongs on the burn pile with Mr. 70’s odd job clothes. Yuk Yuk. I ok now that I got that out of my system.

    I think the only place that sweater would be ok is on a -40 F day here in the north of Wisconsin. It is so cold that anything that keeps you warm works no matter what it looks like. I just hope we don’t have any of those days this winter. Hot today(89F and humid) and hard to believe it will be getting cold again.

    The only thing I like about this picture is the nice hairy arm. I am thinking thoughts that I will keep to self. Never thought about the hipbone before, thanks for the thoughts I have.

    Thank you for the new lessons, you always teach us something new each week. Been a very busy day, but looking forward to *ooof* day Tuesday. You always make my day.

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    • Aw Katie! xxx Your comment re “burn pile” and “odd job clothes” got my mind wandering again. I realised that the woolly horror is actually the ideal garment for mucking about in the garden in autumn – raking and burning the leaves, cutting the bushes, sorting the shed. That’s where that piece of clothing belongs 😀
      Hairy arm was very nice *yum*

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  13. Agreed with everyone on the jacket – it looks like LV partnered with Pendleton . . . badly. But the ficlet was wonderful, and this is the first time I noticed the bunchy tee-shirt, so thanks for giving me a lovely bit to stare at!

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    • Have to look up Pendleton now (I’m totally out of touch with fashion…) 🙂 Glad to have given you a new detail to focus on, Antigone. Thanks for commenting and complimenting!

      Like

  14. […] totally blame Guylty after her post here.  She’s out of control, I’ll tell […]

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  15. Garish jacket and garish, busy background- none of that says RA to me. Much prefer understated, classic styling and natural outdoor setting for him. His looks don’t need fussiness or embellishment- keep it simple!
    Do people really buy all that Halloween paraphernalia? It must be a much bigger deal than I ever imagined.

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    • Exactly, leave the loud, garish clothes to the loud, garish people. It’s not RA’s style. And yeah, Halloween is a big deal here. A lot of adults have parties as well as trick or treat time for the kiddies, some schools have carnivals (although now the trend is toward harvest festivals) and we actually do a big Trick or Treat Downtown each year, with various businesses setting up tables in front and dressing up and offering candy. It’s really a lot of fun and you see some great costumes!

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      • Thanks for the info, Angie. So do you decorate the outside of your house like at Christmas? Is that what the headstone’s for?

        It’s never been much of a thing in Australia, and not at all when I was growing up. These days the toy shops and party shops sell dress up gear, and I sort of resent it as a way of trying to create an occasion that’s not really meaningful here. I did have a couple of young girls come to the door one year in the evening, and, relatively safe though my neighbourhood is, I was horrified that they were going door-to-door without adult supervision.

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        • Some people do decorate outside—not everybody, not as much as you see at Christmas. One extended family and their friends used to create a haunted graveyard on the front lawn with various family members in costume hiding behind fake headstones to pop out and scare people and such, and others dressed up and sitting on the porch waiting to hand out candy, spooky music playing, a fog machine going, lighted jack o’ lanterns glowing . . . very atmospheric. Also a lot of people go for the scarecrows and pumpkins and hay bales—something that works from October through our Thanksgiving in late NOvember. We have strict rules here about starting and ending times for trick or treating and young children are never supposed to be out alone but with parents or older siblings. Safety tips are shared every year in the local newspaper. A lot of communities are going to the town-sponsored events like ours where everyone stays with a safe zone that is monitored by law enforcement.

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          • I like the idea of a well organised community event- there can never be too many of those. Anything that brings people together in the neighbourhood is a good thing.
            The street next to ours gets closed off every year on Christmas Eve and different houses have parties in their front yard. One house hosts a band and young choir for community carol singing. When my boys were young it was great fun- all the local families would come- there were lollies and candles handed out. Just real old fashioned community spirit. I think it only rained once in 20 years!

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    • Garish – perfect word in this context. I am not really a fan of either (the sweater and Halloween). I really think the shop setting was far too busy to be a good background for a shoot, and also too seasonal, really. It would stop many magazines from running an editorial like that because they’d be easily “dated”. Mind you, fashion is seasonal, too, and that sweater thingie is probably already out of circulation. Thankfully. Thanks for commenting!

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      • I guess you’ll be hoping for a good crop of new photos from the Esquire spread to enliven your ‘ooof’ choices if you’re not mad keen on the current lot.

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        • You’ve said it, Katherine. I was thrilled when I heard that he was shot for Esquire, and in a really classy hotel, no less. I don’t really like formal wear that much, and that’s what I would expect in an Art Deco setting, but at least it’ll provide very nice context. Something different after all the peeling walls, rustic brick walls and steel doors.

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  16. It is indeed surprise but I’m *ooofing* right along with you Guylty!
    Nothing can do him harm,even that ridiculous, cheap-looking,pretentious thing. I love your little ficlets 😀

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    • xx Joanna.
      Well, the adage “Nothing can deface a good-looking person” certainly applies to him. But still – ugly chunky knits are distracting 😉

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  17. Why is he in a Halloween shop?

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  18. I meant to say why was he photographed in a Halloween shop?

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  19. Why is he wearing THAT sweater? I am so confused!

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  20. The sweater, as I have pointed out repeatedly on twitter, is straight out of Edina Monsoon’s wardrobe on “Absolutely Fabulous.” (“LaCroix, darling, LaCroix!”)

    Loved this oof. And a certain be-bottomed man in it.

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    • OMG, A, just imagine – Edina dressing RA for the shoot. Well, he’d have been in stitches, for sure. (Love “Ab Fab”!) Thank heavens the man can wear almost anything and still look good 😀

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  21. Reblogged this on crystalchandlyre and commented:
    Accidental Ficlet, commented here:
    Forgive me for focusing on that one thing. That very thing, now that you have mentioned it, which makes me aware that there must be others out there like us that have “a thing”, in the same way that you and I do, about that very space. That slight, soft indenture that meets the hard protrusion that is the pelvic bone, along with said bone, which exists almost right at the universally appreciated developed “V” muscle. Yes, I too love that thing.

    I love it almost as much as that space at the V beneath the throat. That yielding, shallow space – just below the Adam’s apple, along with said male laryngeal prominence – right above the clavicle and with it the protrusion and hardness of said clavicle bone.

    Why these things?! Why do they bring on memories of how they look, feel and – in some cases, such as mine 😉 – taste?

    Might it be that V? That directional member of the alphabet that perpetually points South – a direction on the topographical map of the human body where most everyone wishes to travel? 🙂

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  22. […] his work displays much immediacy and has a real-life quality with gritty aesthetics of their own. ooof , […]

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  23. […] If you would like to read the picture analysis that went with it, click here. […]

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