*ooof*: Armitage Times Four

Is one RA ever enough? No, four RAs equal quadruple the fun.

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The Armitage Quadruplets
Four times the fun and sexiness
Shot by Sarah Dunn, 2013

And despite the usual grumpy face, this looks to me like a fun shoot. We have seen the first of the four RAs already in the “iconic antics” *ooof* – because this is a montage. Pretty obviously – the world unfortunately only boasts *one* Richard Armitage. So Dunn combined four shots taken in the same series into one image. The set-up of the shots lent itself to that. Like any artist, photographers are influenced by the work of their predecessors. In this particular series of shoots Dunn was taking inspiration from Richard Avedon. That was most obvious from her group shot of the Hobbit cast that featured all main actors in a b/w composite image with Evangeline Lilly in a red gown: The white background devoid of all context and reference is characteristic of Avedon’s work. Avedon, who initially made his name as a fashion photographer but then became one of the foremost portraitists of the 20th century, favoured this purist approach: “I have a white background. I have the person I’m interested in, and the thing that happens between us.” Guylty approves particularly of the last rule – but maybe for less than professional reasons *coughs* He even went further than that and said “No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative.”

That is where Dunn departs, of course, because she lights her shots nicely and she does favour a striking pose, as is evident from this image. Maybe Avedon would have objected to a smouldering look with a simultaneous pelvis tease – but hey, we are the RArmy, so we certainly don’t! I enjoy looking at this image because it takes me right into the photo studio. I imagine RA stood in front of the backdrop (a Lastolite HiLite , by any chance?), opposite Dunn on a ladder with her camera on a tripod. The camera is certainly head-height – and I suspect a woman photographer does not really reach up to Richard’s generous 6’2”. And then click-click-click with the photographer suggesting various poses. “Turn to the side, Richard, *click* and now back. *click* Take a step forward. Hold it. *click* Bring up your hands like this. *click* And now into your hair. *click*”

My personal favourite pose is the one on the extreme right – at least when it comes to the body. Like in the rock’n’roll pose on the left, this pose displays Richard’s body shape to its his advantage – the long, very slim legs, the hint of arse, the lean torso (although obscured by the jacket). I particularly like the locked knees that force the spine into an erect posture with the posterior pushing back and the chest out. Very good direction here by Dunn who has made sure that Armitage’s left arm is slightly pulled back and does not obstruct the view.  Not quite so sure about the action of the right arm, however – while I like a good hair-grab any day (reminiscent of Armitage’s delicious hair acting in TH, drawing attention to the dark curlywurly tresses per se, and possibly evocative of some other scenarios in which the caressing of hair is requisite, ’nuff said), this looks a bit weird. Like a papal skull cap on top of the Armitage crown – and not quite a scratch, but not a sexy hair cuddle either. The pose serves its purpose, though – with the scratch of the head bringing the right arm up, stretching the body and forcing the head down into a smouldering under-brow gaze. It certainly looks more natural than shot three which has nice anatomical symmetry, but again does not quite convince me of the sexiness of the hair grab. I am thinking self-service hair salon here… Not a good look.

While Dunn channelled Avedon for the set-up of the shots, I am faintly reminded of another photographic “great” by virtue of the repetitive composition of the image. Even though there is no logical progression of movement visible in this shot, I am thinking of the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge. In the late 1870s Muybridge was tasked to make images of the various movements of a horse galloping. In order to do so he had to invent mechanical shutters that were released by the moving horse and that were capable of shutting at as fast as 1/500 of a second. (Up until then, shutters had been operated by hand and exposure times were several seconds if not minutes! A massive step in the technical development of photography!) He went on to make many such image series that depicted the movements of animals or humans in various activities. Meant for artists as illustrations and templates, he photographed his models in the nude (that is: the models in the nude, not the photographer in the nip!), sometimes engaging in rather awkward activities (a mother spanking a child, anyone?). Dunn has most certainly *not* channelled Muybridge here although part of me wishes she had, if you know what I mean *coughs* but besides taking any excuse for a little excursion into the history of photography, the fact that Muybridge presents his movement series in one final image makes the tentative comparison at least vaaaaguely appropriate.

So. Talking in technical terms, this image is a composite. As the term suggests, it is an image that consists of several visual elements taken from other pictures. Oh, how it pains me to call RA a “visual element” *ouch*. This kind of technique has been made very easy for photographers nowadays as Photoshop provides the tools for cutting and pasting image elements into a new layer. However, compositing is not a new invention of the digital age at all. On the most elemental level, compositing was possible by simply printing more than just one negative onto the same piece of photographic paper, for instance. Theoretically, photographers in the past could blank out parts of the photographic paper, print one image onto the exposed space, and then print the blank parts with another image in a second step. Manipulation of the negative was also possible (especially in the pre-35mm times when negatives were much bigger and could be manipulated more easily than the small 35mm negative.) One such amazing example is the work “The Two Ways of Life” by Oscar Rejlander.  It consists of 32 individually set-up and photographed negatives that were amalgamated into one large print. This was as early 1857! – The dadaists and surrealists at the beginning of the 20th century quickly understood the power of photography as a medium and used its propensities to their advantage (See John Heartfield for some powerful work).

Dunn had it very easy with her composite images. Working from the same white, blown-out background, she could easily crop and combine the full length shots of RA in one image without having to adjust background colours or cutting out the sitter from the background and transposing him onto a new background. It was also made easy by the fact that she has shot her images with the camera static on a tripod. This guarantees the same perspective in all shots of RA and in the finished composite gives the titillating illusion that we are seeing the Armitage Quadruplets and not just “one Armitage times four”. As opposed to that, the initially mentioned Hobbit cast photograph was much harder to combine. We know from Dunn that she shot the sitters individually and not in a group setting. While she was easily able to (re)create the same set-up with all of her sitters, getting the perspective identical is much more difficult. Hence the slightly off feeling in the composite original of Armitage and Luke Evans (which I described somewhere as slightly nauseating – in a cheeky way, no offense, Ms Dunn, I was merely drawing attention to the fact that the perspectives were slightly different between RA and Evans.). And hence maybe also the decision to enhance the images with large format negative frames? They serve to make the whole image look like a composite.

Composites are used in many shapes and forms in photography – they come as montages which are photographic works that are produced by cutting and amalgamating two or more images in order to make up a new image. When using analog photograhy, the resulting image often is photographed in order to receive one seamless image. Another, multi-medium form of a composite involving photography is collage where (parts of) photographic images are cut or cropped and included in a new picture, often combining lettering or even two-dimensional objects. These are art forms in their own right, and with the easy availability of photographs on the internet, montage and collage have become almost something of a regular occurrance in fan circles. A lot of the “edits” and “manips” we are faced with even within our own little fandom can be classed as such. A lot of them show great creative imagination by the (amateur) artist. However, they are so called “derivative works” – they *are* original, but based on the work of art by another. As such the copyright situation with collages and montages is somewhat ambiguous – and that is one of the reasons why I by and large avoid manipulating other photographers’ work, or reblogging and *ooof*ing collages and montages of existing images for my own and the fandom’s enjoyment.

Some of that is down to my own principles and preferences. Like everyone else, I come to the internet with my own set of values and experiences. My persona in RAworld is very closely linked to my work and values as a photographer. As someone who knows how much planning, effort and time it takes to create visual work, I immensely respect the work of others. Personally I adhere to a strict policy of non-intervention – or as little intervention as possible – when it comes to post-producing my work. What I value most about photography is its potential for documentation, hence I do not like interfering with what I have captured on the sensor. (I know that nothing is what it seems when it comes to modern photographic work, but I still think that photography – and  documentary cinematography – *can* be the most life-like representation of an object, subject or situation.) My own images only go through the minimum of post-production – that is cropping, colour adjustments, possibly WB-adjustment, straightening. I occasionally might erase a spot on a picture, but not a spot on a sitter’s face. It’s part of his/her there-and-then, it describes them as they are. I am not God, so I do not erase it. (I will admit, though, that I have the freedom to adhere to my principles because I rarely work as a commercial photographer in the areas of advertising or marketing – where photoshop is the be all and end all.)

This policy of non-intervention also applies to my appreciation of other photographers’ work. I believe that the version of a photograph that a photographer has released to the public is the *definitive* version – the one that the creator wanted. Hence I avoid touching other people’s work in photoshop. Personally, I do this out of respect for their artistic choices and decisions. That is also why I rarely reblog manips where colour casts have been changed, hues adjusted, filters applied. I don’t mind crops, as they leave the source material intact and merely focus our gaze on a detail that can otherwise be overlooked. I do enjoy pastiche, montage or collage where an artist builds on the work of someone else, however – they *re*create so clearly that it is still possible to see where the original work of art ended and the new one starts.

Anyway, time to get off my soap box – the above two paragraphs would probably have sat better as a “disclosure” on my Armitage Weekly Round-up. To make it all up to you, I have a little rather far-fetched story to amuse you with.

He had arrived a day before the event, a Sunday, on his own. Perfect. An opportunity to do some Christmas shopping before the family – professional and private – arrived. He whizzed from the airport to his hotel in the city centre, dumped his bags in his suite – Damn, they don’t do sheets here, I have to sleep under a drafty duvet – quickly changed from his comfy sweater into something slightly more respectable – you never know who might recognise me… it was happening more and more these days – and wandered out into the December day. It was uncharacteristically mild, wasn’t Berlin supposed to be quite far East and therefore bitter cold in winter? Poland, practically? He didn’t even need a coat. He turned right from the hotel entrance and walked down the street.

Rather quiet for a capital city of *this* scale and historical importance, he mused to himself. Where are all the people? He crossed a large road and found himself behind a large, old cathedral-like building. Suddenly he was aware of a faint din, some tinkly Christmas music, and what was that delicious smell? The Germans do sausage pretty well. Wasn’t there some Berlin speciality every visitor was supposed to try? His stomach growled perceptibly. He followed the tempting waft and found himself on a small open space where the path widened to the entrance of a bigger square. Suddenly there were people, all streaming towards an arched gateway into the square. Vee-nackts Zuber Jen-dar-men-markt”, he read the lit-up lettering above the gateway.A market for men? Bloody foreign customs. A Christmas market by the look of things. Ah, but the Germans did Christmas well, he had heard, he followed the throng of the towards the gate.

Suddenly there were massive crowds. Or should that be ‘Krauts’? He chuckled. Man, it was busy here. This really must be quite something. The Germans, much unlike the English, had evidently not heard of the civilised concept of lining up in an orderly queue in order to get through a bottleneck. When in Rome, he sighed to himself. I’ll do anything to get to that sausage stall. Edging closer to the gate, he felt himself crushed from all sides. Tall Teutons on the left, giant Germans on the right, a high Hun in front of him. Whoops!He jumped. What was that? Had someone just pinched his bottie? He clucked but had no time to think as the crowd was moving in one big wad towards the entrance. There, a gap. Richard saw his chance, pushed and moved forward. He turned his body to the left, balancing on his toes, and tried to squeeze through the opening, his hands held protectively in front of his best bits.

Halt. Stop. Stehenbleiben.” A booming voice stopped everybody in their tracks. A security guard stomped through the crowd, muscly arm stretched out, a finger pointing at him. “Who? Me?” Richard looked around, a question mark in his eyes, but immediately rooted to the spot by the authoritative tone of the solidly-built guard. “Sie da! Ja, Sie mit den dunklen Locken! Eintrittskarte!” Richard frowned. He had no idea what the burly German had been saying to him. He stopped, shrugged and put as much innocent cluelessness on his face as he could muster. “Sie brauchen eine Eintrittskarte für den Markt”, the guard barked and pointed towards Richard’s hands. “I have no idea what you are saying”, he said calmly and apologetically, watching the security man gesticulating in front of his crotch. “Ein-tritt”, the security man articulated extra loudly and slowly for the benefit of the foreigner, rolling his eyes, and for emphasis he held up his left hand, thumb and index finger, spread apart in a measuring gesture, while his right index finger pointed towards the general direction of Richard’s crotch.

What the…”, Richard bristled. “How dare you?! My assets are not…”, he copied the guard’s finger gesture and shook his head violently. With a scowl worthy of Guy of Gisborne post-humiliation he took a threatening step towards the security man. “They are more like…”, he huffed and indicated an impressive length between his two hands. The security man looked on in disbelief. “Was?” He stared at Richard. “Ein-tritts-karte, Junge. Du musst hier zahlen!” He didn’t budge a centimetre, and Richard was lost in translation. “What? I don’t understand. Ich sprechen nicht deutsch. Or rather, that’s the only phrase I know…” he trailed off, simultaneously putting both hands in his hair in a universal gesture of despair, still scowling. “Und ich nicht englisch. Zahlen. Geld. Eintrittskarte”, the guard reiterated. Richard was at a loss. He scratched his head with his right hand, now arching his eyebrows in an expression of helplessness. The security guard rolled his eyes. Touristen! “Ticket!”, he forced through clenched teeth with a mirthless smile. Oh for fucks sake! What a stupid muddle. Bloody foreigner himself.

~ by Guylty on January 14, 2014.

65 Responses to “*ooof*: Armitage Times Four”

  1. Hahahaha……loved the fic! And the analysis too! The white background does seem fit for the shoot. As if one RA wasn’t enough, four of them! Quadruple Trouble, I call it 😛

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  2. Poor Richard…..lost in Berlin 😆 😆 😆

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  3. If something is beautiful than there can’t be enough of it. 4 times RA is just appropriate. 4 times as much swooning girls (and boys), 4 times as much exploding ovaries (?? what is the correct gender equivalent?), 4 times as much broken hearts, 4 times as much passionate sighing.
    The Dunn-shoot is really fun. Like the pics despite the bizarre poses. I wonder how much say the sitters had when it came to the poses. All directed by the photographer or could they move to their liking? MF seems very much himself, Stephen Fry also (looking really really good). And the poses above are very likely a display of Mr. A.s humour. I am just a bit worried about his frail posture. Did he loose a lot of weight after stopping the exercise for filming TH? Is it the wonders of photoshop or is he just triple-spanxed? Maybe he would be in need of a bit pampering? I would volunteer to that task. This year I am extra willingly good *evilgrin

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    • I’d say Dunn directed the sitters a good bit. Usually, before a photographer goes into a big project like this one (including several sitters on several continents), they have an idea of how they want the final shot to look like. So she probably had a set of poses in her mind. She probably gave them space to “free-form”, too, if they wanted to. Is that likely with Mr A? IDK.
      Yes, particularly in the side shots he almost looks frail. He looked the male equivalent of “petite” at the Berlin premiere (not in the height department, though), I have been told. I don’t think this is Ps at all – he did lose lots of weight. All junket pics point to that. – I’ve been wondering, though: If he has to go back to NZ for additional pick-ups, does that mean he needs to put on muscle and weight again? All that yo-yoing weight… Well, it’s all for art, I guess…

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      • Hmm, yes, there seem to be more pickups in NZ later this year. Hope he will enjoy it (although I got the impression that the excitement has worn off a bit compared to last year). But I also could imagine that that will keep him further from moving on. As long as there is a need to return resp. stay in character for Thorin Oakenshield there is little chance to delve into another character and start something completely new. I got the impression he is not that kind of actor who can easily switch from one character to another. It needs time to *become* a new personality as well as pulling it off after finishing the project. As for the yoyo-effect I guess the gaining of muscles at the right places is a bit more easy for him as a trained sportsman than it is for mere mortals. But don’t get me wrong: I do not underestimate the effort and I would not want to be in his shoes when it comes to lifting weights and a diet that requires more discipline than I could come up with.

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        • Good point re. pick-ups interfering with the necessary engaging with a new character.
          Did you find him less enthusiastic this time ’round? IDK, I thought he was just a bit more confident and “promotionally trained”.
          I wonder whether the NY theatre goers on Thursday will notice a change in his looks. Who knows, maybe he won’t have to do more pick-ups, anyway, and can keep his current extra-youthful shape.

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          • Oh, he was as lovely and cosiderate and polite as we are used to see him. There was just the one interview lately when he mentioned that there could be some pickups again when I got the impression that he was not more than just kindly pleased about. Not as enthusiastic any more as last year when he was talking about the possibility to go back to NZ for finalising the 3rd movie. Small wonder in my opinion. It cannot be too challenging to talk about being a tall dwarf for more than a year and how it was to develop the character of Thorin Oakenshield. For a quick minded and interested in multiple things kind of guy like him it must start to become boring. And yet he has to face another DVD release (probably in spring), pickups in summer, another EE-DVD release in autumn, another press hoopla next Christmas. And all still about the majestic dwarf. I like TH and Thorin Oakenshield as much as the other fangirl but I would love to see and hear something else now. I know there is a lot more of RA-goodness out there for us. He will surprise us with lovely things, I am sure about. And I hope there will be more things that are not *that* exclusive as the stage reading on Thursday. A one time event for a very limited number of people. For a brief moment I thought about hopping on a plane to attend – but then that would be too decadent even for my taste. And I am afraid I am too stupid (shallow/uneducated/gormless and/or impatient) for Proust and Pinter bores the hell out of me.

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            • Hm, IDK, I wonder whether interview rounds ever get truly boring. Yes, the same few questions pop up all the time, but then you never know. It is, anyway, part of his job, so I am sure he is mentally prepared to do it – and to do it well. I can imagine, too, though, that he must be itching to do something new. And yes, that is some long-term commitment that he entered into when he signed that contract. All the way back in 2011, can you imagine? This is the fourth year of it all, and it’s likely to go on for another… Sounds a bit like being part of a soap opera *lol*
              PS: people who claim to be “too stupid etc” would actually be the best audience for such a staging. A really tough audience.

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              • Lol – yes, really tough. They would have to do a brilliant job to save me from falling asleep. 🙂 I am more than curious to hear news about this happening on Thursday. But otoh this kind of stuff is likely to be very satisfying for an actor who is more into the art of acting than into showing off. Small, intimate settings, direct approach to the audience, critically acclaimed actors to interfere with. High brow philosophical material to work with and digging into the background story without end. Not exactly the material for people like me with the attention span of a kid suffering on adhs. And no pressjunket / photocall / red carpet / promo stuff to follow. I hope he will really enjoy it. And I wish him success.

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                • Well, there is obviously also the danger of alienating people with pretentious material… I think it is great that RA is trying to be versatile – hope it gets him to where he wants to be. I doubt though, that he’ll get away without press – there’s bound to be a few togs there. But yeah, not on the scale of TH and DOS. Good for him 🙂

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            • It is most likely heresy and all that, but I am not sure 3 films of a very slim book is a Good Thing. I am finally off to see Smaug next weekend, with a friend who is both Tolkien and Armitage fan. My 13 yr-old grandson says it is much better than the Thorin 🙂 #1. And I’m sure he has a shorter attention than I have. Delighted Mr. A is in a prestigious work, But I’m bored. Just me. Is Sir PJ in love with himself? Three films, and two plus years…..oh dear, perhaps my attention span is less than that of a 13 year-old’s?

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              • I think the films have long stopped representing the original work of fiction. They are so clearly an “extended adaptation” – almost like cinematographic fanfiction. From that POV I find PJ’s decision to make 3 films out of it ok. But then again – I am no Tolkienite, and the more I see RA in the cinema, the better.
                I have to say that I found part 2 much more fast-paced and interesting than part 1. But again – a lot of my friends disagreed with me there.
                Hope you’ll enjoy it nonetheless, fitzg. You could always just lean back, close your eyes and think of… no, LISTEN to the voice 🙂

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  4. There are a number of the Dunn shots that are really evocative for me, but for whatever reason, this isn’t one of them. I’m not sure…it feels over-posed or something, which I assume is deliberate. I do really like the leg shadow effect though.

    I loved your lesson on the Avedon inspiration…even I have heard of Avedon :). I giggled throughout the ficlet, having been on the wrong side of a language barrier conversation once or twice myself – although not quite with that particular misunderstanding 😉

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    • This particular Dunn shot is not as evocative of some of the others. (And yes, I will come to *that* shot, eventually *ggg* – apologies!) Totally overposed, if you ask me, but that is the point of it, especially when there is no context given by background or props *and* done in b/w. It’s reduced down to the minimum – and she has decided to enhance that instead with some dramatic antics. One approach of many, I suppose.
      The leg shadow is really important, I think, because otherwise RA would appear to be floating. I’m glad she left that in (or artificially added it – there’s a good chance she did).
      Avedon is one of the heavies. He did the above mentioned “reduction to the minimal” really well, and he proved that it was effective as much with his unknown sitters as it was with celebrities. He focussed on the person, though, no distraction by funny gestures.
      The genesis of the ficlet was a difficult one. I knew I wanted to write something that included communicating in gestures. But that implied jokes on the foreign country and language. I went the safe route and decided to take the mickey out of my own people… 🙂

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      • LOL…I wasn’t fishing, really. It’s very interesting to me that I find a couple of the Dunn images jaw dropping and others, I don’t know, contrived maybe? It’s really all down to the subjective gaze of the viewer I guess…different strokes 🙂

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        • Well, yes. But I can see where you are coming from. The white b’ground shots all have a very clinical air (duh, obviously), and with the dramatic poses we get distracted from the face which usually conveys all the emotion that we like to see. I personally wouldn’t bring it down to contrived-ness. The seductively leant-back RA in the armchair is pretty contrived in my book. But that and the other shots are much more intimate, even the shot of RA on white b’ground, leather jacket, looking up. Something about the less-in-your-face-ness of the facial expression, I think.

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  5. If Dunn was “channelling” Avedon more power to her! Or any more post-modern photographer. Technology rules. In photography, as elsewhere. Cut my teeth on ’70s Olympia, with various len’s, which required focusing the F-something or other, (you can tell that I am not technically-oriented – learnt the basics, forget the terminology 🙂 )

    Dunn’s photography, building blocks to the Avedons and Baileys, with arguably better technology, but based on , 19th/20th C basic photography and visual/artistic sense?

    Enjoyed the ficlet, as always!

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    • Yep, I don’t think any modern photographer can ignore those that went before them. Some of the visual language of the greats has become more than just reference material – it is almost like a quote from a book or a poem. White blown-out background on LF – Avedon. Arrogant glamour poses with strong shadows – Hurrell. Bold colours and exotic poses – Annie Leibovitz. Etc. The technology doesn’t even matter that much (ok, come the 20th century and the invention of the Leica). But even in the example of Dunn you can see how every photographer adds their own stamp to it, embellishes the quote, if you will. She uses Avedon’s set-up, but opts for dramatic posing. She also quotes his characteristic LF frames (pretty sure now they are photoshopped, btw). But she veers off with the poses. If it wasn’t too disrespectful to her work I would liken it to fanfiction – building on previously published work.
      Thanks 🙂

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  6. oooh, I’m still mulling over the pelvic thrust part….

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  7. Ha ha ha great ficlet,Guylty 🙂 ( The locals should speak louder and slower 😉 )
    There is something characteristc for him in those pictures IMO…some kind of awkwardness.. I don’t know. Wonder if She highlights it on purpose?

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    • Ha! Come on, Joanna, you know your westerly neighbours. We are not quiet at all.
      I wonder whether we are too involved *ahem* in the whole thing and therefore tend to interpret awkwardness into each of his poses? I know where you are coming from and I would agree with you. I’d love to know how someone who has no attachment to RA interprets these (or any of his) shots. Suffice to say that I don’t think Dunn focussed on that. If anything she would’ve tried to hide that ?!

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  8. Loved the ficlet. I was expecting him to find out he was ordering some kind of massive German ummmmm sausage? and the guard was trying to help him with a specific kind. I am not responsible to where my mind wanders while in RA ficlet mode. As for the photos, not my favorites, but very interesting, especially the way you explained the process. The shots have a sixties vibe to them and I expect Twiggy to come into the next shot at any moment. I think I prefer him in leather rather than skinny-looking suits. He seems sexier to me, thus attired. But he is sill him, so how bad can these photos be, not too bad.

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    • You know what – the sausage length indication was my initial idea. That got lost somewhere along the way. Not sure why and how that always happens. These bloody ficlets have a mind of their own.
      Yeah, the Twiggy vibe – possibly the b/w? Or maybe a faint reference to photographer David Bailey? (fitzg mentioned him, too) – He was a photographer in the 1960s and created a new visual style with his fasion photographs of icons such as Twiggy, Verushka. Do you know the Antonioni film “Blow up”? It is about a photographer who takes a snapshot in a London park. When “blowing it up” (enlarging it), he thinks he has involuntarily snapped a crime being committed in his shot and he becomes obsessed about getting to the bottom of it. It’s a pretty accurate description of the Swinging 60s.
      Suits vs leather? Guy – all the way, of course *ggg*. But seriously – I am not a fan of formal dress at all. Tuxedos leave me completely cold. T-shirts and open button shirts on the other hand… UNF.

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  9. I love the ficlet Guylty. Sooo clever to get all four poses in. Is that a bracelet he is wearing on his left wrist in your favorite pose? What is that line? Your favorite pose, the one on the right, brings to mind a man or even a boy, who just got up out of bed in the morning, you know how people do, they sort of just stand there for a while, getting his bearing, scratching in a few places, clearing his head.

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  10. Your ficlet makes me chuckle: what a perfect characteristic of Berlin hospitality … 😉 I don’t know if there’s an adequate translation for “Berliner Schnauze” …
    And, btw, I like the Dunn photos very much – he’s a good pose indeed!
    Thank you for another enlightening oof!

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    • Hehe, IDK how you would translate Berliner Schnauze. “Berlin gob”? Or “the Berliners have the gift of the gob?” Although that doesn’t quite catch the brashness of the city and its inhabitants…
      Glad to hear you are a Dunn fan, Nell. The images are certainly very well-made, and she is a versatile photographer with not just one signature style.
      Thanks for your comment!

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  11. I don’t know why I love this set of four? This morning is the first time I’ve seen it and, crazily, it’s the second pose I can’ t stop looking at. I got frustrated reading the ficlit! LOL my own little tourism experience, right there.

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    • Oh, you didn’t know the image? Good one then 🙂
      And yes, quite a universal experience, that encounter with someone in a different language, and the frustrations it brings…

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  12. I love Sarah Dunn’s portraiture! She is fantastic! Thanks for the great insights and the funny story!

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  13. I have no idea which photo I like better, just that I do like Richard in black and white. Happy *ooof* day!

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  14. Du boeses boeses Maedchen!!! (You naughty naughty girl!!!)
    I´ve been trying hard to write a post for the flash event, but this distracted me totally.
    Have I ever mentioned that I open your post in two tabs, one for the image, one for the post itself?
    I don´t care about Avedon or himsoever (new word created by me) but you´re right, Womenphotographers do Mr. A more justice…
    To the ficlet: I love it, being glad that you still don`t need a “Eintirttskarte” (a ticket) to go into a “Weihnachtsmarkt” . Yesterday I bought a “Currywurst” to go (usually I avoid it because of calories).
    And now, you´ve spoiled me , I can´t never go to our little shopping mile without thinking “is Mr. A. around to take a Currywurst?”
    I apologise for being silly, I was loughing so loud that my cat vanished, but it´s still a very early morning, so forgive me 🙂

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    • *giggles* Yes, sometimes the naughtiness can’t be suppressed.
      Good idea, opening to separate windows for image and post, Ute – keeping the eyecandy in sight 😉
      You know what – I was really surprised, too, but the Christmas Market on Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin did actually require a ticket! I was initially miffed, but then realised it was there way of controlling the number of people who were in there. It was only a Euro, anyway.
      Associations of Currywurst whenever you see RA? Now, there is an entirely new kink 😀

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      • No, the other way round: Associations of RA whenever I´ll eat a Currywurst, but that won´t do me any good.
        BTW you can get the sausage in half meters length…
        To the picture itself: I´ll show it tomorrow to my daughter, though she watched two times the Hobbit movies with me on screen and was forced to watch a lot of DVD stuff, she´s not addicted to the man, rolling her eyes why her mum is 🙂
        Last but not least: Your professional analysis of the pics has done a lot of good to me for my own unexperienced photography. I remember the times , when my daughters were childs, we shot film after film, it was so expensive. Now, it´s all digital, I can take 1 hundred pics of my little Emma Charlotte, and it doesn´t cost anything. And I think, they`re great 🙂

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        • Digital has freed us from the constraints of money on our creativity. It is a blessing and a burden. Shooting film again made me become much more careful made me take my time. The stupid miscalculation I made in Berlin would not have happened had I been shooting film. So there you go: digital has freed us to make more mistakes and to enjoy the process. Keep shooting hundreds of pics of Emma Charlotte – there are bound to be a few really good ones in there, anyway.
          PS: I’d really love a Currywurst now.

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  15. I must say I’m not keen on these images- I guess I prefer a more natural pose, but I do appreciate all the background insight you provide, Guylty. Loved the fic about RA’s ‘best bits’ as well.

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    • I am the usual ditherer – I don’t particularly like the poses, but I like the crisp clear quality of the shots. You could say I like the technique more than the aesthetic.
      Glad you liked my naughty ficlet 😉

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  16. Going back for another look at these photos, I don’t think I like them. Second from our left, taken from below? legs short. Next one, jacket flaring, big hips! If I had been the subject, I might, given the power, have had the photographer beheaded. On the other hand, I do agree about the crispness and the clarity. And no, I don’t think it aesthetic, nor are they a portrait of the subject. And I thought photography was supposed to be the subject? Karsh and Churchill? Avedon subjects? I look at these shots, and I do not see a person.

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    • No, I think they are all taken from the exact same angle, fitzg. About shoulder-height? I’m pretty sure Dunn must have had the camera on a tripod – so she didn’t move around, only her sitter did.
      I had the same thought about the unflattering hips. That’s caused by the stance, I think. Hence my favourite the one on the right which really shows the fit tall frame to its advantage.
      Aesthetic? Well, in the eye of the beholder and of the artist, I guess. Personally, I would always concentrate more on the face of the sitter. But the decision to shoot full-length may have been in the brief.
      As for portraying a facet of the sitter’s personality – well, you could argue that this is quite an “acted” series of shots, so it represents that part of him. But yeah, again, I think closer concentration on his face, a head-and-shoulders or even a half-length would’ve been better for that. The “leather jacket looking up” shot for instance has more intimacy than these shots. These are more fun and games than heart and soul. Or in your words: these are not a person but an act.

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  17. Great post! Yeah, Germans in Germany don’t queue, although they will do so elsewhere. This used to drive me batty. I wonder which of the Weihnachtsmarkt specialties he tried — or if he just stuck with Currywurst mit Pommes (rot/weiß)? My favorite are those tiny little pancakes — poffertjes? — that masquerade as being Dutch, dunked in orange liqueur …

    Loved the historical background. I knew that the historical manipulation of photos was quite old but hadn’t realized that arts photographers had used it as well.

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    • Germans will assimilate perfectly when they are away from their country *ggg*.
      Yeah, what would RA’s taste be? Sweet or savoury? I’d say savoury – Currywurst or any sausage?
      And *eeeeeeeeeeeek* – another Servetus twin moment. Poffertjes. You won’t believe this, Servetus, but when I visited the “Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt” the evening after the premiere, that was *exactly* what I ate on the market. No sausage, no Pommes, but Poffertjes. They are Dutch, and you tend to only get them in the Northern half of Germany at a funfair or market, so I had to take the opportunity.
      Hehe, I knew you would like the look at historical photography. I love it, too – I am always amazed at what they could do with their restricted technology.

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      • or, building some headcanon, with his nephew, who’d want to try *everything*. I didn’t know those were predominantly north German. Then again my so German experience is limited.

        I sometimes think it’s precisely the lack of possibilities that causes creativity — I read an argument recently that the reason for such a talented generation of British programmers in the 1990s was the advent of a particularly limited home computer ten years earlier. It was kind of dim, but if you took it apart and put it back together you could do wonders so everyone did exactly that …

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        • Oh yeah, you could have a wonderful time trying everything. Besides all manner of sausages there was roast chestnuts, gingerbread, fried potatoes, caramelised almonds etc. I ate all the unusual stuff – the poffertjes and the chestnuts, and bought a bag of gingerbread sweets. Oh, and I drank a few tankards of mulled wine *haha*
          Re lack of possibilities: Boundaries always get pushed. Personally, I find that improvisation often releases the best results. It’s when I have to work around, that I really work well.

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  18. […] monochrome and deliberately colour-drained. Watch out for her focus on the eyes. ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof […]

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