*ooof*: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Was it about this time last year that Mr A skulked around New York, doing all these fabulous (fashion) photo shoots that have continuously kept our mouths in copious amounts of drool eh our pants in a perpetual twist eh our imagination in incessant over-drive eh (gettin’ there) our hearts persistently a-flutter (there we are!)? Paula Parrish for Fault. Anders Overgaard for Glamour. Robert Ascroft. And now we are looking at Ben Rayner, probably one year on. Just judging from the timeline when the first of these images started appearing in magazines, based on what is visible in the outdoor shots and keeping in mind Armitage’s general schedule between finishing up principal filming on his tornado thriller and the start of the Hobbit press junkets, we can pinpoint the time the images were shot – roughly in Autumn 2012: they must have been shot pre-December 2012 (when a couple of Ascrofts made it into magazines) and -January2013 (when the Fault and Glamour shoots turned up in the media) but post-tornado chasing (after August 2012) in the small window before the Hobbit world tour PR machine started (October 2012? my memory is like a sieve).

There is no “best season for outdoor shoots”, of course. All seasons provide their own stunning settings for location shoots. Lush summer vegetation vs. stark, reduced winter backgrounds, bright floral opulence of spring vs. autumnal melancholy or Indian summer colour. Autumn, in my opinion, however is a great time for outdoor shoots. The sun, in autumn, has fallen lower down on the horizon (in our latitudes), and the harsh glare of the sunlight has been reduced. The light often appears softer and possesses a warm glow, filtered as it often is through clouds. Plus – photographer (and model) do not have to get up at unholy early hours to catch what we call “The Golden Hour” – the first hour of daylight, beginning roughly half an hour before sunrise, ending about half an hour after. (And yes, when I first heard about Armitage’s previous work in The Golden Hour I thought he was playing the part of a landscape photographer on the prowl for sunrise shots… Admittedly, that would probably not have been quite as exciting as his medical genius persona in the homonymous medical drama. Although my imagination  can conjure up a few steamy foggy scenes, involving the photographer frolicking in front of rutting deer or cavorting cheerfully amongst swaying daffodils… weeeeeell…)

BenRayner-08

Amused, wistful, contemplative Armitage?
Photo by Ben Rayner, 2012
Image Sourced via RAnet

So here we have Mr A in a photograph by Ben Rayner (2012), frollicking in a sumptuous early-autumn setting. Well, some rather subdued frollicking. Or none at all, actually, but an image exuding calm despite a pose that is not entirely communicating staticism. The composition is fairly pedestrian (which fits a man who is kitted out in his nice between-the-seasons coat for a little stroll in the autumn sun): The subject is placed centrally in the composition. The symmetry of the image *yawns* is broken up *blinks* by the pose: Instead of shooting Armitage straight-on, Rayner has his subject pose with his body turned at a 45 degree angle to the camera but his head facing the camera. The subsequent asymmetry of the pose (with only part of the torso visible) creates a dynamic feel. The head turned to the right adds to the feeling of dynamicism – it communicates movement in that this position is not one that anyone would naturally choose to remain in for any length of time – unless you enjoy a stiff neck. Hence the impression is created that this is a fleeting moment in which the subject has turned his head to the right to look at something that has caught his attention.

He smiles – now he doesn’t.

The air of calm is emphasised by the small smile that graces Mr A’s face. I am struck again by the discrepancy of *my* interpretation of Armitage’s facial expressions as friendly smiles, with the reality: Armitage often evokes the impression of a smile despite not pulling up the corners of his mouth (as every other mortal would do.) His mouth does not yield a smile but a line. Armitage’s smile is in the eyes – they give him away. Test it.  Cover Armitage’s eyes with your finger and look at the lower half of his face. Then cover his mouth and look at his eyes – or check my handy little gif:

There is amusement in the eyes, particularly his left eye, probably something to do with the position of the eyebrows, the twinkle of light on the iris and the crunched up lachrymal sac. – The friendly surroundings may add to the overall friendly feel of the image. After all we see lots of greenery and some brilliant sunshine in the image – mood-boosters if ever there are any, with both sunshine and plants symbolising life and positive energy.

As a woman Armitage admirer my attention may be caught by the subject, but as a photographer, I am fascinated by the light and shadow in the background. The play of light through the leaves is always a compelling sight – but the sunshine filtered, obscured and in places unhindered by the leaves also proves a challenging condition for a photographer to shoot in. In harsh sunlight such as this, the photographer does well in placing his subject in the shade, i.e. in a spot where the light has been filtered and the subject is evenly lit. However, it also means that his subject is going to reflect less light as some of the other parts of the image (i.e. the patches of sunlit grass and leaves). Essentially, what you see in this image is a number of constituent parts that are both over- and underexposed, as well as correctly exposed: Bearing in mind that the subject is the centre of attention and therefore needs to be correctly exposed, this is the part of the scene that the light-reading has to be taken from. This means, the photographer sets his aperture and shutter speed to represent all (or at least the important parts) of his subject (i.e. his face, but in a fashion shoot also his clothes). As the spot he stands in is reached by less light than the sunny patches, the latter will appear brighter and overexposed, while other patches that are less reflective than the subject’s face will appear underexposed and dark (the shaded patches of grass). This is probably also emphasised by the use of some discreet fill-flash or soft reflected light thrown on the subject that makes sure his face is evenly lit. Shooting a subject dressed in a dark garment is challenging under these circumstances, but Rayner manages to pull it off. He may have also upped the ISO settings of his camera, judging by the grainyness of the image (unless my glasses need a bit of a clean *ahem*).

What I find interesting in this context is the ability of our brain to correct our vision: We are constantly confronted with settings in which the distribution of light on the objects and subjects we see is uneven. Had we been present at this shoot and boy, would we have enjoyed that…, chances are that we would not have found anything challenging in the scene. Strictly speaking, our eye would have recorded the light conditions exactly as they are. Depending on what we focussed on, our in-built aperture would have contracted or expanded to discern the subject in its/his fully illuminated glory. Subsequently, the less important background and accessories would have been over- and underexposed in our vision, just like the camera recorded them, as well. But the magical computer that is our brain draws upon its world-knowledge and automatically corrects the actual image to an approximation of the reflected ideal. While our eye can’t discern all parts of the image in their proper colour values, our brain can. Just because we *know* that grass is green and not white. Selective correction. Fully automatic and subconscious. Amazing, really.

The photographer and the woman Armitage admirer tussle over what is important to look at. Ultimately, the fangirl wins: Who cares about correctly exposed backgrounds, as long as the subject’s attractive attributes are visible. And yes, I would like *them* exposed, too, but altogether in a different sense of the word… Not that much luck here, as we are looking at some designer’s autumn/winter collection – demurely covering all the bits. The longer I look, the more my attention is caught by the details – the snazzy zip that can turn the coat into a jacket; the jumper’s sleeves peeking under the cuffs of the coat, and the sneaky little shirt-tail lurking under the jumper. It’s the latter that finally gets my imagination going.

“We are leaving in ten minutes, dear. Are you up yet?” The soft but insistent tones of the female voice roused him from a deep sleep. He was momentarily disoriented. Where was he? Why was the light so bright? Why was he being woken by a woman’s voice? And why was he being roused in broad daylight and not the usual crack-of-dawn dimness of his filming work-days? Oh, yes, the weekend. He yawned and rested his head back on the pillow. He was allowed to sleep in. Scratching his unruly mop of black hair, he threw a quick glance at the alarm clock on his nightstand. He blinked and yawned, attempting to shake off the remnants of sleep from his fuzzy mind. A  moderate morning hour. In fact – he drew a sharp gasp – it was half past 10, and he suddenly remembered that he had agreed to accompany her. “Darling??? We have to go in five minutes!!! Come down. You won’t even have time for your porridge!!!” The voice from downstairs carried the weight of a thousand question-marks. And the promise of a million exclamation marks if he didn’t get a move on. 

He jumped out of his bed. Sugar. No time for his morning routine. He surveyed the room. Underpants. Socks. A quick splash of water under his arms. Yesterday’s denims. She’d left a shirt out for him and the new grey jumper. She had said it was getting colder and he ought to wear a nice woolly jumper in the autumn chill. “I’ll be waiting outside, Richard!!!” The voice had taken on a decidedly chilly tone, to match the seasonal weather. Blast. He hastened downstairs, cursorily brushing his mop of hair into place with his fingers. Hopping on one leg, he pulled his boots from where he had left them at the bottom of the stairs, putting them on. No time to tie the laces. He grabbed the black coat from the rack, pushing his arms through the sleeves and tugging on the woollen cuffs, as he hurried out the front door.

She was already waiting, impeccably dressed and coiffed, as usual, arms impatiently crossed over her bosom, neat little handbag dangling from her wrist. He came to a stop in front of her. “Oh, look at you!”, she sighed exasperatedly. “Really Richard, I have no idea how you get any jobs in that business of yours. Or why all those lovely ladies consider you a handsome catch. You can’t go out like that!” She moved towards him, her arms already outstretched towards his sleeves. “Now, pull down your trousers properly, Richard.” She busied and herself at his cuffs, pulling the coat sleeves over the cuffs of the jumper. “And for God’s sake, tuck in your shirt!!!” He rolled his eyes with an amused grin. “And now let’s go.” “Yes, mum!”, he demurely and obediently mumbled, as she turned on her heels and marched off, expecting him to follow. “Once a baby, always a baby”, he smiled to himself, as he glanced after her.

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 September 10, 2013.

84 Responses to “*ooof*: Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

  1. Great lesson on lights dear Guylty, very interesting. As always you let me notice things I overlooked (grass, leaves, shadows and different colors and exposure (guess what I was watching?)… but what is an epic win is your tale! 😛 I can perfectly figure poor Richard in this situation. Very nice and funny tale and yes, I suppose the “real” RA is like this 😉 And can perfectly imagine our dear Margaret trying to properly set his “child” clothes and hair 😀

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    • thanks, dear Micra! xx And the tale: I actually wanted to write this much more from the perspective of a little boy, with RA as the punchline, but I knew it wasn’t going to work as the image prompt and the whole context already pointed to the fact that the main protagonist was going to be adult RA. Nonetheless, that shirttail untucked was what really had touched me about the image most – not the smile, not the clothes themselves (although I adore the coat) – but the imperfection. Was it an overlooked detail? Like the bunched-up trouser legs? Certainly fits that “I have no fashion sense”-carelessness of Mr A 😉

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      • The shirttail untucked is one of the first thing I noticed! First, because is very RA, second because I really love to wear layers and let them visible. It’s nice, is comfy and in a man is that right carelessness I love 🙂

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        • Yep – too pristine always looks vain. A little bit of slovenly carelessness is loveable. Maybe the stylists have copped on to that…

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          • I really hope so. I don’t like impeccable look on men. Well, some occasions apart. Of course you have to be perfect on official occasions like Premieres (above all if you have to met the Royals) and you are not Peter Jackson! 😛 Tuxedo Ra is a perfect RA. I could stare at him forever in his Zegna tux.

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            • Nah, too formal for me. I like casual RA best. But I can take enjoyment from the contrast between a usually unconcerned-by-fashion dresser and the spick-and-span tuxedo-ed celebrity look. He rocks it all very well…

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  2. 😀 ONce a son, always a son. l loved this little glimpse of Richard with his mum. And I’ve always said a lot of his smile is in his eyes. 😀 That lovely little twinkle . . . I’d say more, but it’s after 4 am here and I really need to get a little sleep . . . love, love . . .

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    • Sleep tight, Angie – maybe with some sweet dreams (again) of Mr A. May he not only inspire creativity in our waking moments, but some light relief while unconscious 😉 And thanks for commenting.

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  3. I never noticed before that he smiles with his eyes while his lips seem to be lazy gorgeous little things 😉

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  4. *ouch
    His mum sounds very much the same as mine. By the way – she also looks very much the same as mine (*verydisturbing*).
    It’s interesting to ponder over selective correction. If I would come across this shooting while strolling through the park, I think I would blend out practically everything except the guy himself – and I would stand there gaping moonstruck (*no nice view*). When being asked about light, background, weather, fotographer and assitants I could give exactly nil information. If I am unlucky enough him to turn his head and catch my sight (looking fort he weird noises someone makes at the other side of the place) I would not be surprised about his smile first fade from his lips and immediately afterwards from his eyes.
    Luckyly Mr. Raynor caught him at the moment, when the smile was still in his eyes…

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    • Hello i.f. – great to hear from you again!!
      That is *some* selective correction that you are talking about there. And fully understandable. I can see how that would happen – and I am not entirely immune to it myself *coughs*. And as I said – who TF cares about bloody backgrounds with *that* in the foreground? (Only obsessive idiots like myself).
      Hehe, and I think most mums sound like that. Mine certainly *always* raises her eyebrows at me when I come down dressed to go out. “Are you wearing THAT????” she asks, and I can read a thousand implied disapprovals in her question. Unfortunately I am not a demure daughter…

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      • Oh, *I* care about the background. I always blame myself of being capable to immediately take in the big picture. When leaving out the background I would focus on details – and that‘s simply not me.
        On second thought – when it comes to Mr. A. some universal truths have to step aside and make place for the important things. It’s all about priorities. This has nothing to do with obsession. Not.At.All.

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  5. Lovely. You make my day – thank you very much!!
    🙂

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  6. Pleasant lecture and sight, as usual, guylty! But, ;-), funnily, why do we always assume he is dependant on his mum’s good advice? Or that she would be that “possessive”? I do not hope so, at least he has become 42 recently, hasn’t he?
    Although I think his outfit was intended the way he presents it I feel there might be a lot of RA in these photos: always on the hurry, as you said a little careless but nevertheless … ooof …
    May I admit that I usually concentrate on the person on pic? *Shy* But it’s very lovely to watch them again with a deeper view, so thanks again, guylty!

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    • Sorry, I was too quick: of course he might be “in a hurry” and I concentrate on the person “in the pic” …

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    • Good point about the mother-son-relationship, Nell. I have to say I don’t believe one bit about it, save that he seems to be a nice and loving son, just judging from the fact that he took his mum to the Hobbit premiere. Otherwise I am just amused by the possibility that he might be as much under his mother’s spell as a lot of other people are under theirs, myself included, whenever they are at home. In terms of my ficlet it may have got something to do with the stage my menstrual cycle is currently in *grins* – I experience inexplicable mothering flashes…
      Absolutely nothing wrong with concentrating on the person in the shot, Nell. That is actually *just* what the photographer wanted 😀
      Thanks for your kind comment! x

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  7. Another illuminating Ooof .. I don’t know why the photographer didn’t move him a bit to the left or right, though, because that tree trunk in the background is coming right out of his head and reminds me a little of Thranduil’s crown. The untucked shirt poking through a sweater is trendy now- but I agree with the comments, a Mom would want it tucked in.
    What is your overall opinion of the composition (yawn) Guylty? Or what would you have done differently?

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    • Perry- read your comment and had to scroll straight back up to check out the tree trunk! Funny the details some people notice and others totally miss.

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    • Great observation, Perry, about the tree trunk. Actually one of the things I noticed and then ran out of space to talk about. Either Rayner only noticed afterwards or he may have been constricted in his composition by other objects in the background. Thranduil’s crown – how offensive *lol*.
      Thanks for asking me about my own opinion on the composition. I am always slightly careful about (negatively) criticising others for what I might perceive as compositional faults. For once: There is no right or wrong in composition; it is subjective and may have reasons that only the photographer understands. Also, I know from own bitter experience that one can easily overlook parts of the scene in the heat of the shoot and only notice them in post-production. I usually give photographers the benefit of the doubt. The reason I said “yawn” was that I am just not particularly excited by symmetry in portrait-style images. I am a huge fan of asymmetrical negative space, and I believe that less is more. When I shoot, I try to tone things down as much as possible, both in terms of location/styling as well as lighting. In this particular setting, compositorially I probably would have avoided the two diagonal “lines” that are created by the fence in the background and the metal chain behind RA. Particularly for a half-length, I would have opted for more negative space (to the subject’s right – our left). But then again, I would have avoided the patchy background and placed my subject closer to a single-colour background (a big leafy bush), or possibly had him pose right by the tree. Also, am not too fond of the just-visible playground in the background left. I am *totally* niggling here, chances are that most viewers haven’t even noticed it, but I am distracted by it. It could have been fun to place the subject right there, in the playground. In truth though – I wouldn’t have done it *any better*, but only differently 🙂

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      • Yes, I tried to couch the question in such a way that the answer wouldn’t sound critical. So, when are we going to see just a few of your photos?

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        • *ggg* They are under wraps because I am notoriously secretive – and also pathologically paranoid when it comes to my activities online. I occasionally post stuff on tumblr. Here is a glimpse into my pleasure photography: http://guylty.tumblr.com/post/48116669942/west-coast-impressions-ireland-in-late-winter (But I suspect you want to see evidence of my portrait work?) Recently posted another thing with a bit of an artsy-fartsy approach http://guylty.tumblr.com/post/58142945658/the-kingdom-of-rust-2013 A little art photography project of mine (not all of the images are spot-on, btw…) So there – let rip *ggg*

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          • How did I miss these? Probably scrolling for RA pics.
            I love, love the rust series, especially the one with the nut and washer.
            And Ireland, my, I can’t believe there are still places so vast and empty.
            Thank you for sharing. I like your quirky subjects. And no trees growing out of heads.

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            • Hehe, no worries, Perry – I don’t post my own stuff very often. My last four memorable landscape/travel shoots I never even documented.
              Yep, Ireland still has some pretty unspoilt landscape. Particularly that area that I showed in the landscape post had some parts that looked straight out of Middle-Earth. Well, or NZ for that matter.

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  8. Guylty, I had trouble getting past the image of RA cavorting with daffodils and rutting deer! How many glasses of wine were consumed during the writing of this ‘ooof’ exactly? Hehe…
    On the topic of Richard’s mum, I wonder what she sees when she looks at fashion shoot photos of her son? Does she take pleasure in seeing him in snazzy gear? Does she find the Robert Ascroft unsmiling shots uncomfortable to look at? Can she always find ‘her’ boy beneath the actor’s performance for the camera?

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    • I’m sure she can find her “boy” beneath 20 kg of Thorin’s prosthetic 😉

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    • *hic* what? *hic* ssssomebody call’n ma name??? *blinksandburpsdiscreetly* wher’sa bottle a wine???? ‘m thirsty!
      LOL – Katharine, you are on to me :-D. Well, actually, I never drink at home, so unfortunately all those wacky fantasies have been thought up with a clear and lucid mind *ahem*. (Draw your own conclusions, bearing in mind that photographer Guylty occasionally gets up at crack of dawn and shoots…)
      Those are the really interesting questions you are asking, re. perception of portrayals by those who know the subject really well. A topic I have long been pondering because I am fascinated by the discrepancy between outside perception and perception of self. I’d hazard the guess that most intimate friends and family of the subject see this as an act and not really the person as they know him. It can only ever be an approximation; and the better the photographer is acquainted with the subject, the more honest the photographic representation. Personally, for instance, I find that I am the *only* one who can realistically catch my children’s likeness on film/sensor. (Well, there’s the parent speaking. Plus I have the authority to bully them into poses *haha*) But yeah, I wonder, too, what it feels like to see someone you know so well in so many images. There are probably always “bits” that one recognises…

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      • What is it exactly that makes a shot more honest when the photographer and subject know each other? Is it merely that the subject is more relaxed in their presence, more trusting of the experience? Broader smiles more likely?
        I guess I’m asking, do you think you could discern a difference at a glance if this shot had been done by a friend of RA, or are you referring to informal shots of RA as himself?

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        • No, I only mean that in relation to studio-based “professional level” portraits. Candids wouldn’t count, because they can be taken without the subject’s knowledge – and he’d be giving more away in them because he’d think he was unobserved.
          The “honesty” I mean does not necessarily result in a prettier picture. Actually – it could be the opposite. In order to represent (at least a facet of) the sitter’s personality (which is the definition of a photographic portrait, really), the photographer must first of all understand and uncover the personality of the sitter. I am not talking about fashion photographs, actors’ headshots or passport photographs – they are not focussed on individual personality of a RL sitter but even attempt to obscure the RL persona behind the clothes or the neutral expression. But for portraits of a real person, the sitter must allow the photographer to see (parts of) his personality. And someone the sitter is familiar with would probably a) make them open up more, b) relax them, c) make them more trusting.
          Sometimes the smile may be broader – but that depends on the personality and current mood of the subject. I just think there is a non-quantifiable quality to some photographs where you just *feel* that “this is REAL”, because the sitter has been captured with more honesty, by someone the sitter felt familiar with. (Some photographers are naturals who can make *anyone* feel at ease immediately.)

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  9. Okay, guylty, you’ve finally made me delurk! /By way of introduction, I’ve been an avid reader and a hopeless lurker for the last 9 months or so. I very much like topics discussed here and the community of well-educated, well-read (non)ladies. I also know some of you from elsewhere./
    On to comments; thanks for the little lesson in photography. Always welcome! I loved the ficlet, it’s easy to picture him doing his best to be a good son but forgetting to wake up or keep clean clothes at hand, let alone tuck in his shirt. /Richard’s mum sounds like me. Scary!/
    And yes, that lovely smile originating from his eyes. Calm and exciting at the same time. You can imagine him smiling at you as you meet him for coffee and a stroll in the autumn sun, can’t you?

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    • Hello Richardiana!! So glad you de-lurked. You are welcome to comment at your heart’s content. You’ll see, as soon as you have made a few comments in blogworld, people begin to know you, react to you, and the fun really starts. Your flattering introduction has certainly paved the way 😉 Please continue de-lurking!
      Can’t resist the lessons in photography, of course, and am very flattered and happy if they are of interest to anyone. But even the photo nerd has to admit that the focus always returns to the subject *ggg*. Isn’t it fun how a picture prompts imagination? I went down the homestory route today – who knows what others see??? The half-smile is such a clever charming device – works equally well on doting mothers as on infatuated, unrelated females (and males!?). I think I’d forget about that coffee and drown in the enigmatic smile…

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  10. Her boy has done her proud–I think she probably doesn’t care what he looks like.

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    • And right she’d be. He not only is a dapper, attractive man, and a successful, talented actor, but by all accounts also a decent bloke. I don’t think you can hope for anything more as a parent.

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      • I do seem to recall a story where she was a bit taken aback by the sight of his bare bum the first time she saw it on tv–other than that, i can’t imagine that she would ever have any reason to be anything but justly proud of her gorgeous, talented, gentlemanly son.

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  11. Mum has known him for 42 years. Nothing comes as a complete surprise. Well, not as a COMPLETE surprise. 😀

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  12. I must need more sleep. When I read your story, I thought he was with a girlfriend and she was the mothering type, a bit bossy and overbearing. I thought he was being sarcastic when he called her “mum” because she was being such a fussbudget. My mind went to the “what does he see in her?” place and why does she want to be impeccably dressed and carry a silly handbag when he can wear whatever he wants (if he can igore nagging.) I have never been so wrong in all my life. Well, I really have, but I couldn’t resist using that quote.

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    • *chucklesloudly* and then *fistpumps* Yesssss. At least one reader who was mildly misled by my ficlet. The ambiguity was intended, Kathy, so no worries there. But yeah, had this been the woman of his heart, I’d seriously doubt his sanity. Ok, yes, (some) guys choose a woman like their mother for their partner, but dangling handbags and bossy punctuality freaks who do not even bother to wake up their loved ones with a kiss but scream up the stairs are hardly the stuff of romantic novels.
      Love your use of the quote. Must slip that into my RL more often and see if Mr Guylty catches me out *ggg*.

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      • If I used that quote on Mr. Jones, he wouldn’t know the source, but he would definitely be startled by the sentiment. To use another quote from RA “I am always right, I am never wrong”.

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        • *giggles* That should keep Mr Jones guessing a bit. I am afraid Mr Guylty has seen the Hobbit – grudgingly acknowledging Armitage’s greatness – and constantly suspects me quoting or associating RA, anyway. Wonder why he thinks that…

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    • Phew!! I was *so* relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who was “marginally misled” before I got to the end of your always-delightful little tale! 😉 As I was reading I was thinking to myself, “How in the world did he, of all people, choose to have such a bossy and whiny partner/wife?” as I couldn’t imagine him ever doing such a thing. And, “How dare she talk to Richard in such a way? Poor lamb!” Then when I realized she was his mother I breathed a sigh of relief and totally understood her attitude – being a mom myself (*whispers* – and old enough to be Richard’s mother too! 😦 )

      Wonderful analysis as always guylty! I’m always excited to see what each Tuesday will bring. I truly hope you can keep these going for some time to come. 🙂

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      • hehe, Teuchter, you have no idea how much I have enjoyed misleading you and my other few readers. That is just such fun – good natured, no harm meant. And psst: I am a mother, too, and frequently find myself brushing my teenage son down (verbally and literally) as if he were a toddler. I don’t expect it to ever stop!
        Thank you for your lovely comment. I love my Tuesdays, too, interacting with you, discussing, explaining, arguing, back-pedalling. And I hope that I will continue to feel inspired – not only by RA, who has actually turned into a muse for me, too, but also by all you wonderful readers out there, without whom this would be not even half as fun! Your support and feedback means so much! Thanks xx

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        • You are *so* welcome dear friend! It’s strange to find how things change when it is my grandchildren who are in now in their teens (and even in their twenties!!) I am amazed at how much more indulgent I am with them than I ever was with my own kids! I would *never* have allowed them to dress the way they do but now find myself almost oblivious to what they find fashionable and even go so far as complimenting them on things they choose to wear! NTM things like little nose studs, multiple earrings and even the odd tattoo. I don’t mean the tattoo itself was odd! 🙂 It’s actually a flower! 😉

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          • It’s weird, I guess, how we are highly strung as parents but much more forgiving as grandparents. Not there yet myself, but I see it in my own parents who had a bit of an iron rule over me but are the softest people when it comes to their grandchildren. Non of the rules and fuss that was applied to me but spoiling and unfiltered love. That’s their prerogative. I am glad of it. They give my children something I cannot. – your grandchildren are very lucky to have you!!

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  13. I am floored every time I read one of you posts and realize how much of the picture I just don’t see! I look at this and see Mr. Armitage outside. Lame. Thanks for illuminating the photos for me. That little gif was just a bit mind blowing. Men should NOT have that ability. Ever. For any reason.

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    • Carly!!!! Bless you for such a nice comment *Guyltyclapshandsexcitedly*. And may I actually use the opportunity to return the compliment here – I am currently reading “Iron and Oak” and loooove it! It’s yours, isn’t it? Very well written!
      Hehe, my gif. I felt slightly bad, because the black patch on the eyes reminded me of those pictures of accused or criminals in tabloids where they slap a patch across the eyes to make the face unrecognisable. Poor RA – not a villain *at all* – But yeah, devastating non-smile smile. Should be banned, licensed or at least only allowed with a simultaneously carried warning sign.

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      • Why thank you, my dear! Yes, Iron and Oak was my little summer project. So glad you’re enjoying it.

        I too was caught a little off guard by the manner in which Mr. A was harangued from the kitchen…but when he said ‘Mum’ and used the word perfect I was pretty sure he wasn’t talking about a wife/GF.

        I’m starting to really look forward to the little ditties at the end of the oof! So much better than…Someone told him what to wear then sent him to a park. Which is what you would have gotten from me.

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        • Hehe, great, pulled the wool over your eyes for a bit, too? I would have loved to write this as if it was a little boy who was being rushed along. But I knew you wouldn’t buy it *ggg*. And hell, no, I will not write about wives. That would kill my fantasy pretty quickly 😉
          Aw, thanks for saying you like my little ficlets. I have always considered myself a reasonably good factual writer – but I have a problem with anything that aspires to be “art”. In my head, fiction is art – and an expression of sublime inspiration which I have never felt in myself 😦 I have no idea how all you “serial” writers out there manage to create long-form fiction. But I am encouraged enough to continue with the ficlets – possibly also in another shape and form, because there is something brewing behind the scenes *ggg*. Watch this space, everyone!
          If “Iron and Oak” was your “little summer project”, I wonder what your serious, aspirational work is like!!! Must check!

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  14. As I didn´t want to write “fantastic ooof” like every week, I´ve thought some time about it (was only a bit distracted by the looks of Mr. A, fortunately could click him away).
    So, I´m a boring bookkeeper (I still wait for meeting someone like Harry Jasper Kennedy) and here´s my weekly report:
    1) Very technical on photographing: how will this approach me, cause I´m still such a bloody amateur? (sorry, personal view,nothing done with the business)
    2) “The trunks in the backgound” like perry mentioned, how could we turn them into money?
    3) How can we bring guilty into one of the next official photoshoots (please note calculations here)

    Sorry, I´m no good in joking…

    The photo appeared very late, but better than never, have never seen a much lovelier coat than that on a man, like it even more than the Burberry one (I thought it was the ultimate one RA could wear). Try to use some of your professional tips on photography…

    Remarkably, you´ve got a real talent as a writer, yoor *ooofs*- attending story: I was very jealous of the woman in RA´s life and really surprised by the end (pointe) funny, but not in RL (my former OH´s one)

    So, if you can gain it, let´s not only participate in your perfect skills as a photographer but as a writer, too…

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    • Hi Ute – there is no deadline on commenting, so take as much time as you like 🙂
      1) Not sure if I quite understood your point number 1 – was my post too technical for you and you are wondering what the application of it is for an amateur? And btw – you are welcome to voice criticism, too. I promise I won’t bite 😉
      2) Trunks in the background: cut down and sell as fire wood. Easy money.
      3) Maybe I need to get myself an agent?
      I love the coat as well, btw – I thought the zip was not just pretty but also functional. Plus, it is black *yay*
      And as for the ficlets – I am really enjoying my creative writing. It’s been years since I last wrote fiction. The Muse has struck again *haha*. The short form really suits me because I really have very little patience, I think. Thanks for your encouragement, Ute. It means a lot! xx

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      • Uuuhh, shame on me, your post is always too technical for me as I mentioned before and my personal interests have mixed with the “professonal ones”, I´m a bit confused, please don´t think about point no. 1 again…

        Maybe you could engage RA´s agent for yourself 🙂 ? You´d get a lot of references from all the ladies around here and I suppose by your details studies applied before you´re the only professional photographer who gains so much profound knowledge about RA´s facial expressions, his overwhelming physique “en detail” etc. to shoot the best views of the man…

        Stormy, rainy weather here, nearly 18° C lower than Friday last week, will go to bed and think about of all the opportunities of zips on black coats…

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        • To some extent my posts are really selfish, Ute – I flex my theoretical muscles a bit, reassuring myself about what I know and whether I know it still. So just skim over the technical stuff 😉
          Yeah, I have probably studied RA photography quite intensely (understatement of the century!) – not sure if that really makes me an ideal photographer for that particular sitter. Sometimes, when you know too much, your expectations are too high. Not to mention the expectations of the Army *ggg*. But feck it, I’d give it a shot (or 2000 shots, more like).
          The rise and drop in temperatures was pretty extreme over in Germany. Here we have settled into autumnal temperatures, too – only a drop of about 5 degrees. Nonetheless, I am sad to see the glorious summer slip away…

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  15. I love that little use of the non-curse…Sugar. Lovely photo shoot observations aside, I also enjoyed the ficlet and the little twist at the end. I am one of those that really hates to see it when women excessively mother men…except when they actually “are” their mother. Can’t be helped there. 😉 Nicely done.

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    • The use of the words “sugar” and “blast” as curses were my little hints that this was an interaction (sort of) between son and mother – with the son respectfully remembering/automatically slipping back into the no-swearing in front of mama rule 😀
      Mothering your man is only appropriate when they are sick. Otherwise should be left to mothers, agreed 😉

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  16. I love Mrs. A.! I don’t think she’s picky about appearances at all. I think she is just like her son, very relaxed and not concerned about how he looks. And has a good sense of humor and is concerned about making everyone happy. I know she’s my creation, but I am so grateful to her because I believe it was she who sent me the “reply” to my fan letter to her son. 😀 That’s what I think, anyway. Oh, the *ooof* – love your descriptions, but hate the picture. Hate the coat, hate the background. Do love the eyes, though! Keep writing the little stories with the oof, guylty! I love them!! 😀

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    • You received a reply to a letter? How nice, Marie! And yes, Mama A is as much a figment of my imagination as RA himself. Probably more based on my own mum than anyone else.
      Sorry to hear you hate the coat, but glad you like the ficlet 😀 thanks for your encouragement! X

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  17. Ohh…I’m very late for the party *stamps foot* , and worse, I have nothing much of substance to add except that I love the ficlet, and as the loving mother of a moderately, but perpetually unkempt son, I know the feeling of the gentle nudge toward hair combing or shirt tucking 🙂

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    • hehe, relax, Obscura – no premium on being first to comment ;-). And yes, as the mother of a teenage son, I am kind of speaking from experience in my ficlet, too. I just loved the image of RA as the obedient son, tbh. Nonetheless, I don’t want him to be *my* son 😀

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  18. Thank you for today’s *ooof* and boy is Richard a sight for soar tried eyes. I am up before the “Golden Hour” to get ready and go to work. Since I don’t work summers I do miss them early hours then, but ready I don’t miss them. I have seen some very lovely sunrise’s on some of those mornings. Maybe we will have some sun tomorrow.

    Not sure about the coat/jacket, maybe in will wear on me. The sweater in nice and the untucked works too.

    I think a mom will know her children anywhere. Last weeks paper here had a couple front page pictures about the freshmen first day and I looked to see if son2 was in any of them, no. Look a bit more at the paper and back to the front page where my eye saw son2 in the way back part with his side in view and cut part way off, so yes we know are children.

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    • I am back in depressing darkness with my 6 am starts, Katie, and I have to say if there wasn’t the prospect of a beautiful, colourful sunrise on the horizon, literally, I’d not be able to get up…
      Funny how we can easily pick out our loved-ones in even the biggest of group photographs. And yes, the “loved-ones” at this stage also includes RA, for instance in that massive group shot of the cast and crew of TH.
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  19. “Something brewing behind the scenes”? Are you writing a novel / screenplay / coffee-table book laden with RA pics, Guylty? OK, don’t tell me. But I *will* watch this space intently.
    Meanwhile, because I am flu-ridden and unoriginal today, here is a fragment for sloppy, careless, adorable RA from the poem Simplex Munditiis by Ben Jonson:

    Give me a look, give me a face,
    That makes simplicity a grace;
    Robes loosely flowing, hair as free:
    Such sweet neglect more taketh me
    Than all the adulteries of art;
    They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

    Ricky dear, keep the nice coat and untucked shirt, but never let the monstrous Louis Vuitton sweater be seen again. Or sell it to Kanye West and donate the money to charity.

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    • Hello Groovie 🙂 – no, any long-form fiction is beyond my patience at this point. But there is something else in the making, something interactive and fun and open to all. The details have not quite been worked out yet, but they are being worked on… *viciouslyspreadsanticipationfurther*
      What a beautiful poem by Jonson. Hard to believe that it is hundreds of years old, isn’t it. Thanks for that – I am going to imagine RA reading it, actually.

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  20. *ooof* at least she doesn’t spit at her hankerchief and cleans his face! 😉
    Thank you for your generous weekly portion of fun and …astonishments.
    Once again I was thinking “what?!” what “shirt-tail lurking under the jumper?!”O_O..ah,yes..there it is 😦

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    • *ugh* yeah, no, that kind of thing is just the most revolting thing *ever* (the spittle on handkerchief). Even though I frequently fuss over my kids’ appearance, *that* is one thing I have NEVER ever done… and wouldn’t even subject a fictional RA to *ggg*
      Hehe, the lurking shirttail did not just arrest my attention but also caught my heart. I just thought that was soooo cute…

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  21. Okay my mind was running the opposite direction reading that until I realized it was his mother. LOL. Porridge? My story would go slightly different but I liked this one too. I’m sure we could all come up with our own little tale here but some might not be printable…. Good fun here..

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  22. […] about the way you phrased this, and I am thinking, that maybe I was not that far off with my recent ficlet… ), presents us with a mixed bag of items here. Simplicity always works best in photography. […]

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  23. Funny, i did not read this as a smile before looking at your GIF for about a minute, and am slightly more inclined to do so after seeing it, but not much …

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  24. […] Rayner is a fashion photographer. His imagery appears less polished and posed than what we usually expect from glossy brand and fashion advertising. However, much of his work displays much immediacy and has a real-life quality with gritty aesthetics of their own. ooof , ooof […]

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