Emergency *ooof*: Sir Chop of Armitage

It’s as if I *knew* this was going to happen. I didn’t come out with a regular *ooof* this week, and now I do not have to worry about over*ooof*ing you by publishing another. Instead I can revel in new, up-to-date imagery, professionally shot, not majorly photoshopped (big no-no!) and yet as *ooof* as always. And hey, who cares that the end of the month is the worst time for me, work-wise, that there is this morning’s event shoot to post-produce and send out, four travel-blogs and seven articles waiting to be written? When it comes to job satisfaction, an emergency *ooof* is the business. Mood level: cloud nine. Adrenaline: overdose.

Embed from Getty Images

Why, hello, Sir Guy, have you been time-travelling?

Of the wonderfully large number of press shots available at Getty Images, I had a difficult time choosing what I wanted to look at in depth. No offense to Sarah Wayne Callies, with whom Armitage displays great chemistry in all shots (and which makes me look forward to ITS a bit more now), but for an *ooof* a RA image has to fulfil certain criteria, number one of which is: It has to be a single portrait. This one fits the bill nicely. We have Mr A in a mixture of half-length and head-and-shoulders portrait, posing for the assembled press at Cinemacon. Dressed in a dark (black?) jacket, brown shirt and black, narrow tie, Mr A poses at a slight angle in front of the customary sponsor advertising backdrop. He is pictured straight-on but has turned his head ever so slightly to his right and displays the characteristic minute head tilt. His eyes are open and his slight smile is open-mouthed, almost giving us a glimpse of the glaring-white teeth.

The photographer has managed to light the sitter nicely with his on-camera flash. That is no mean feat, as camera flashes have an annoying habit of either drowning out the subject with strong light or flattening them against the backdrop with harsh shadows that surround the shape of the sitter and “anchor” them to the backdrop. If you have ever taken pictures of people with flash you know exactly what I mean. The reason the pros get it right is two-fold. First of all, he is working with a PR pro here. Armitage knows from experience that he has to keep a bit of distance from the backdrop in order to avoid creating shadows on it with his own delectable shape. He stays about a yard/metre away from the backdrop – close enough to still allow for the annoying, unsightly advertising logos to be unavoidable in the shot, yet far enough not to leave big shadows on the wall. More importantly, however, the photographer works with pro hardware, i.e. a detachable camera flash that is adjustable in terms of angle as well as light intensity (something that the in-built camera flashes on amateur gear do not do – they are always directed straight-on, and flash at a given intensity). The fact that the flash head may be angled on pro gear is important because it enables the photographer to illuminate a sitter from above by bouncing the light at an angle against the (usually white) ceiling which will the hit the sitter from above – an easy trick to avoid big shadows straight behind the sitter. However, that is not the case here – the flash appears to be directed almost straight onto the subject, only a little bit from above, indicated by the harsh but narrow rim of shadow under Armitage’s chin. But since the photographer is shooting from a distance of about two to three metres (my guess based on the full-length images by the same photographer) the intensity of the light is not so much as to drown out the face. By shooting with a medium aperture, the photographer also manages to get all of his sitter into sharp focus while leaving the background slightly fallen off. This is a strategy used by photographers to avoid background distractions by picturing them out-of-focus.

What the photographer sells here as a head-and-shoulders portrait is most definitely a crop from a larger image that had more of Armitage in it. I.e. the photographer neither used a zoom to get Armitage bigger in-camera, nor did he stepp forward to get a closer look. But he shot from where he was standing (behind a rope?) and later cropped the image down to get a head-and-shoulders from a larger half-length or full-length shot. I can tell that is the case by simply comparing the image sizes of the existing shots by Alberto Rodriguez – the full-length shots go up to a size of 3000 x 4320 while this one is 2205 x 2988 px. Armitage Cinemacon Alberto RodriguezThat is not cheating – but a trick to take from pro-photography: Always shoot photos at the highest resolution possible. It means that the resulting images are big enough for you to later crop down to the bits of RA… ooops parts of the image that you want to contain in your image. In terms of this particular crop, I could niggle and say that the photographer could have cropped a little neater and created a more symmetrical composition by cutting the right shoulder out, but he was probably following the rule of thirds, focussing on the head, and that results in a composition where the left shoulder has been cut and the left shoulder remains in the frame. That way the eyes and nose still make it into the top middle rectangle of the image, as you can see in my little composition graphic. Ideally, the eye line should’ve been a little bit further down.

Looking at the sitter, I get the impression that this is definitely Richard Armitage and not a character. There is something about the tilted head and particularly the look in his eyes that makes me think he is not acting here but is consciously “his own man”. There is not enough of the body posture in the frame to tell this with certainty, but from the other existing images we can tell that he looked quite relaxed, hand in pocket, one leg forward, standing leisurely and “enduring” the photographic ordeal. Despite the strong flash, he has managed to keep his eyes nicely open, which adds to the impression that he is giving the viewer an open look. This time it is his mouth more than his eyes that make us believe he is smiling (even though he is still doing that annoying thing with his face – the non-smiling smile. I really think Armitage is a wonder of nature!). His right eye in particular looks very smiley, though. His cocked head is an appeal to sympathy, an attempt – whether conscious or not – at appearing unthreatening. It’s not pronounced enough to appear submissive, though, but effectively counterbalances the unavoidable air of threat that clings to a person of great height. Maybe this is something that Armitage has learnt in his 42 years, knowing from the reactions of people that a tall man can come across as threatening, and he is balancing this out by assuming a posture that communicates friendly openness. “I am read to lean in, to your level. I am not here to attack.”

Instead he is here to… attack. The ovaries. With his luvvly-duvvly smile and the open blue peeps. Even the weird brown shirt with the black collar patches makes me happy – I find it of questionable taste (disclaimer: Guylty is not a fashionista!) but that would be the resurgence of the former Armitage Lack of Fashion Sense, and boy! some imperfection on this most perfect of men is *almost* a relief! At least in my book. I can’t really reconcile myself with admiring a God. I am too atheist for that!

BAFTALA had become a wake-up call. At least in *his* book. What the…? When he had been faced with his larger-than-life likeness in the shape of a poster at a recent interview, he had pissed himself laughing. Ok well, he had nearly choked on his own tongue. “Do I have to pull that face??” Really, he had had no idea. *That* was how the photos had come out? Goodness. He looked like a trout suffering from heart-burn. Eyes – too far closed. Head – damn straight. Mouth – thin line. And btw, why had his strategy not paid off? Why was there a large colourful adjective describing his nationality over his best bit? The glimpse of chest hair had been meant as the coup-de-grace!!! He had to revise his photocall check-list, quite evidently. Clearly, he also needed a new media strategy. He would take matters in his own hands, just as he was wont to do on a regular basis.

And now the opportunity had arisen. Another media occasion to tout his pout. Or rather, not to. Blow them away with beauty if the hotness doesn’t do it. The check list had come out again… He was showcasing his long slim legs in shiny black trousers. Tight little black number for the jacket *yum*. Went nicely with 1980s retro slim tie. Out of spite… no, make that “wounded pride”… he’d punish the ladies by keeping his chest hair under tight wraps – or rather a brown shirt, demurely buttoned up. A nice, tactile design, that shirt, with some black patches to match his Gisbornesque stubble. Enough to light a match from. Ahhhh, yes, they’d always liked the black henchman. His romantic nape-curls had blown their ovaries to smithereens. “I can’t be shown up by a fictional character”, he huffed to himself, as he was jostled in front of the backdrop for the customary photo call. “This is ME!” No full-on smoulder this time. There would be no frowny trout… eh pout. He hadn’t had his choppers replaced by pearly whites for nothing.

He assumed his tried-and-tested chocolate pose. “Leg forward, shoulders relaxed, hand in pocket, Armitage!” he said to himself. “Social workers are hot Hot HOT!” he repeated the mantra in his head, thinking of the project he was currently involved in. He inclined his head in a momentary pause of thought. A little glimmer of humour appeared in his eyes, and his lips opened to follow the smile. “And what is a drug-addicted, promiscuous ex-social worker if not an urban henchman? I’ve got the stubble, I wear the gear, I have the mullet!”

It was time to advertise Chop to the ladies.

~ by Guylty on March 28, 2014.

32 Responses to “Emergency *ooof*: Sir Chop of Armitage”

  1. *helpless giggling*

    Not my favourite shot but I follow your logic 😉

    Brilliant ficlet as always! Definitely an urban henchman 😉

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    • Too many good shots to choose from. I had difficulty myself and in the end I said to myself “feck it, sure it’ll be grand” in a mock-Irish accent and took a smiley image 😉

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  2. are those black patches on the shirt collar or is it actually the tie? it looks to me like the tie is visible outside of the collar until it’s threaded back through at the front.

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  3. Who is this man? Honestly. I have never “seen” him before. He is one mercurial man.

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    • You’re right, Rob – he’s an impostor. What has happened on the Urban set???

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      • Yeah, who is this man?? I quite agree @Rob. There is this suitable German word of “fremdeln” and I’m not sure whether the English expression “to have stranger anxiety” (Guylty??) is the proper one in regard to the feelings I had, when I saw this pics for the first time yesterday evening. It resulted in quite some weird (but well-known) “noises” (poor neighbours) on my part and yet I needed a while to grow accustomed to his new “urban” look…
        Guylty I love that last sentence!!

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        • Linda, I had the same reaction. Initially I was “WHOT????” and then eventually I came ’round to WOOOF 🙂 I like his style (clothes-wise, weird shirt disregarded) but more so the many smiles I saw. And what can a Guy-girl like me say when faced with a mullet??

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  4. I am looking forward to seeing that film.

    It seemed like that we may have had a glimpse of the “real” Armitage during the Brit Actor of the Year thingy. But who can really say?

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  5. It’s more of a baby mullet. This is a real mullet
    https://www.google.com/search?q=billy+ray+cyrus+mullet&hl=en&gbv=2&biw=1680&bih=895&tbm=isch&imgil=1nCX3zvgpy7cYM%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcQ-NDGVdXmSnmyP010Z8sGFVDnoDJ7S7ohhsD9S-O2pSgtlGEgzSg%253B659%253B912%253Bq3tyD2FrLDKVLM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fpopdust.com%25252F2012%25252F08%25252F13%25252Fmiley-cyrus-billy-ray-cyrus-hair-mullet%25252F&source=iu&usg=__t7YKfvT774QVp42X6S9jzmAVybA%3D&sa=X&ei=ELg1U6fLAeazyAHCgoHQDA&sqi=2&ved=0CCgQ9QEwAA#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=1nCX3zvgpy7cYM%253A%3Bq3tyD2FrLDKVLM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn.popdust.com%252F%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F08%252Fbilly-ray-cyrus01.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fpopdust.com%252F2012%252F08%252F13%252Fmiley-cyrus-billy-ray-cyrus-hair-mullet%252F%3B659%3B912

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    • Yuk, this is actually a dead painful retrospection of a dreadful hair fashion, which I NEVER EVER relished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Horrid.. 😛 Who knows, probably quite useful for a not yet specified anything in the future…

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    • Oh Jesus! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! The worst of the 80s… Thanks for the reminder. Armitage, let’s not go there!!!!

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  6. ROTFLMAO Guylty! Love the analysis, LURRRVE the ficlet!

    I too love this post-Gizzy look.

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    • ggg Mojo is back. It took some smiley RA to get the irrepressible urge to ooof coursing through my brain again… Ficlet was short – emergency, I guess. And Gizzy look is always good. Period. xx

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  7. This day is getting better and better! I’ve been grinning like an idiot whole day, so many wonderful pictures. I’m definitely not a fan of that shirt, in my eyes it looks greenish brown and it just doesn’t work. But that hair, oh yes.. The analysis was very interesting to read, I enjoyed reading how the flash was used. (:

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    • Hey Quutamo – glad I could extend the good day a bit longer for you. I’d say we’ll get to see more images and hear soundbites from Cinemacon in the days to follow.
      Agree with you on the colour of the shirt (I nearly wrote “shit” – well, that says it all, doesn’t it… sorry).

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      • That would be awesome! I noticed there was a report (first part) from CinemaCon in our local movie magazine’s website. Hopefully the next part appears soon as I’m of course interested in if it mentions Into The Storm and what it says about it.

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  8. Interesting about the flashes, actually fascinating!

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    • Using flash is tricky – unless you have learnt how to deal with it. That is on-camera flash. Studio flash is much easier, as you are free to direct it whichever way you want…

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  9. I have a question. Aren’t there other photographers clicking away at the same time on these pr things, and if so, how do all those flashes going off at the same time affect the lighting in the photos? Or do they cancel each other out? Does it depend on where each photographer is standing in relation to the subject? Love the ficlet as usual. Not a fan of the shirt, but when you look at who is wearing it, it hardly matters.

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    • Yes, they interfere with each other. Sometimes you can get funny stripes on your images if someone else’s flash has gone off while your shutter is open. What happens then is that you will literally see the trace of your shutter moving across your image. – The best of my crop in Berlin, the b/w close-up of RA, was a lucky flash interference, for instance, because someone else’s flash illuminated RA at exactly the time that I released my shutter. That way I caught him in focus and not as grainy as in my other shots. – I could go into that issue in another ooof when I am analysing a press call photo again.
      D’accord on the shirt… I am willing to overlook the patches and the colour just because of what is underneath it 😀

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      • Thanks for the info. Really interesting to know all the “behind the lens” factors that combine to make a shot. It would be great if you could elaborate on a press call ooof in the future. I hope it is not one you have already done.

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        • I think I have done some, but I was actually researching for the upcoming ooof and it will be about press calls like the one in Vegas, so stay tuned 🙂

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  10. Another fabulous ooof Guylty! I realise Gizzy and The Mullet go hand in hand, but the lighter hair colour had me thinking more of Monet when I first saw these photos. But yes, “urban henchman” is a very good fit. 🙂

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    • Yeah, when I saw the images of RA on stage where he has been pictured from the side, I thought of Monet, too. Partly because of the lighter hair colour, partly because of the length of the hair. It looks less like a mullet and more like a bob, almost…

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  11. I love the idea that he advertises the new characters to fans! Introduces them, so to speak. Who knew how little I knew about flashes, a fascinating ooof!

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    • Well, I honestly think that actors on promo tour do so – even if only subconsciously. Why else would they also send messages through others, emphasising how much fun they have filming… I am sure he is fond of Chop. I am too, I finished the book today, and as flawed and immature as Chop is, he is also a really good man…
      Re flashes – not fond of them myself 😉

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  12. […] those out here to maintain the high quality of the writing yeah right. Moreover, Kathy Jones requested some more insight into the workings of a press call like the one in Vegas and I am all too happy to […]

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  13. […] given us a lot of material to peruse, courtesy of the CinemaCon event in Las Vegas, covered in an ooof here, and the Jameson Awards, also previously covered. Mr A has become much more visible in press call […]

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  14. Love. It.

    Like

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