*ooof*: The Little Catalogue of Horrors

With the day that is in it, you can take it today’s *ooof* is a bit of a joke. Because quite frankly, I do not really find the image particularly ovary-combustingly hot. Have I suitably put you off? Or are you yet in full APM? Ok, I’ll bring it on…

Mr A went to an awards ceremony and donned hisย go-to-red-carpet-outfit suit, the trusty Tom Ford number he had already sported a few summers ago for the CA premiere. No, that is no snide comment. Guylty applauds the frugality and practical thinking of Mr A although she suspects it was simply the only dark suit left hanging in his deserted wardrobe of his London home, while all the snazzy Zegnas and D&Gs are in his fashionable NYC closet. Or maybe it is necessity? Has Mr filled out slightly since his rather thin and scraggy look at the end of 2013? He looked almost delicate in Berlin and more so in Madrid, but not so anymore. We also note the re-appearance of the knitted throw… eh… tie that made its debut in the Sarah Dunn shots from 2013. The purple handkerchief in the breast pocket is a new addition, previously unseen. Who, the innocent fashion victim wonders, has so accurately folded and placed the colourful accessory in the breast pocket? Does Mr Armitage engage in origami himself?
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And here he stands, a little bit too close to the backdrop, left foot forward, in a full-length portrait of the actor as a 90s footballer. From the image I get the impression that he was not as comfortable at this event – or in this outfit? – than as at CinemaCon just a few days before. Instead of the relaxed poses from Vegas we see a slightly tenser version of the man, his hands unclenched, but to my mind there is a certain tension in his left arm, held slightly apart from his torso, shoulders a little bit held back. A half smile graces his stubbled countenance, the moustache and stubble a little bit stronger than usual. But good sport that he is, he is doing his best to look friendly and give the photographers what they came for.

The reason I have picked this image today is that Micr(olin)a asked me bts and in reference to some of the CinemaCon pictures what the photographers did to make their subjects look so twisted in their pictures. She used some choice swear words in her comment, but I will leave 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 comply. An interesting image from CinemaCon provides insight and even has RA in it. Cinemacon 2014Press calls essentially are a more professional zoo experience than a red-carpet appearance. In front of a backdrop that brandishes the sponsor logo/event name, the celebrity guests assume their poses in front of the press. The photographers are cordoned off from the “posing zone”, herded like cattle. Note to self: Bring cattle prod if accredited for press pit at TABA London. Or is it the celebs that are corralled in? In any case, the bigger the event, the more photographers, the less space. Hence the photographers fight for a good spot at the front of the corral rope to get an unobstructed view of the posing celebrities. In this situation, the photographer has to deal with several limitations. Time for shooting is limited, as the celebrities will only indulge them for so long. Ideally, the photographers would like to get a shot of the celeb looking at the camera, therefore lots of shouting ensues to attract the attention of the celeb and to literally turn their heads.

But more challenging is the space limitation. Apart from keeping the elbows out in order to defend their space and stop other photographers from jostling them, an unobstructed view is paramount. Hence the cattle prod coveted spot in the first row. This however poses new challenges for the photographers. The aim at an event like this is to get a variety of shots of the celebrities. Headshots and head-and-shoulders portraits from straight-on or in half-profile, but also full-length images that show the subjects in their gowns and top-to-toe beauty. Thankfully modern photography has produced cameras with so many pixels that you can crop a wider shot and produce headshots from half-lengths and still produce images of suitably high resolution for inclusion in print media. The distance the photographers are usually kept from the subjects is perfect for close-ups and half-lengths – about 1.5 to 2 meters. But not so for full-lengths. If shooting a full-length, the photographer has two options. He can either step back to get the full glory of his subject into the frame – or he can zoom out. The latter is possible because most photographers use a zoom lens, something like a 70-200mm zoom (and which you can spot on all the cameras in the small image above). However, the trouble with zooming out in this situation is that the perspective gets distorted. Because the photographer cannot move away from the spot, he has to zoom out rather than physically move backwards to get the subject in the frame. Add to that the fact that the camera will be shooting at a slight angle – from head height, looking down to get the feet of the subject into the frame – and the result is perspective distortion. This manifests itself in a big bobble head and shortened legs. The effect is more pronounced in the following shot from CinemaCon.
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Unfortunately this is an effect that crops up again…

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and again…
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and again…
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and again…
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and again…
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But hey, I bet you enjoyed that little root through the Little Armitage Catalogue of Horrors… No blame on Mr A please – thanks to Getty Images we now know names of those who are responsible!

This might remind you of an old *ooof* I did a long time ago where I talked about distortion before. In this case, I absolve the photographer of all responsibility. He did his job – he could not move back. This was the only way he was going to get the whole delicious 6’2″ of Armitage into the shot. But good thing that we do not have to rely on our eyes only. We can conjure up a properly proportioned Armitage in our minds’ eye and correct our vision. And as steadfast fans, that is what we do – we *know* that the picture lies and that Mr Armitage is not posing here for menswear in a plus-size fashion catalogue but he continues to be worthy of inclusion in a female locker room… And hey, locker rooms and 90s footballers bring up some delicious visuals. I leave those to your own imagination… If you would like to be entertained, I recommend you read Servetus’ wonderful post on Armitage’s new twitter.

 

~ by Guylty on April 1, 2014.

41 Responses to “*ooof*: The Little Catalogue of Horrors”

  1. I have to admit, though I love Richard any way I can take him, there are sometimes that I’m like “Wow, he’s looking sharp” and then other times where you wonder if he dug through is closet saying “Do I really have to go to this stupid event” and finally settled on something. But, he’s human, and I think we all do that once and a while ๐Ÿ˜› Goodness knows I do, I am my happiest in jeans and a tshirt. Can’t imagine having to ‘suit’ it up all the time. lol

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    • Hehe, yes, I can just imagine that. Rooting through the wardrobe and finally settling on the nearest thing… (Heck, I am just the same, myself…) It’s the slip-ups that really make me like him. Anything too sleek and perfect, and I am put off. So I don’t really mind the idiosynchracies. And I certainly prefer the casual look to the suits…

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  2. What I find slightly puzzling, in a nice way, is how, in the space of a few days, he goes from the ‘RA-dresses-himself’ look, in Las Vegas, with the longer hair (ok, slightly seedy for ‘Urban’) and yet looks younger and leaner than he does a few days later in London, in a properly matching suit, hair tied-back and looks a bit more solid?

    As you say, it could be the photography, but he does look more relaxed in the LV pics than the Empire ones and who wouldn’t be tense having to run the gamut of photographers?

    (OK, I admit to being a secret admirer of the ‘RA-dresses-himself’ look…!)

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    • I think he was more nervous at the Empire (plus he had just flown back from the US to the UK, and I’m sure he was worn out). Since he was nominated for the award; he just seems more… tense at the Empire Awards.

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    • I am an open and proud admirer of the “RA-dresses-himself” look ๐Ÿ™‚ This is real, not April Fools

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    • Ok, without being a fashion expert – I think that the cut of the Tom Ford suit doesn’t really suit his body shape that well. The jacket is too long. The jacket in Vegas, otoh, was shorter and tighter, and looked really well on him. Like you said – he looked much younger. Part of that was the clothing – casually formal vs formal formal – part of it was the hair – mullet ๐Ÿ˜‰ vs “short” (as the ponytail isn’t visible in the shot here). But yeah, he looked more relaxed in the Vegas images – all of them, actually – than in the London photos. I don’t really think it’s the photographers as such. The experience is the same, whether you are in Vegas or in London. Maybe he had a bad hair day in London :-D. Plus, there are less photos of the London press call than the Vegas one, so less opportunity for stunner pictures.

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      • I remember when he got that suit — the company that styled him that day, I think it was called Alban Bespoke, tweeted that he’d be attending in Tom Ford. It all created the impression of haphazard choice, and the company turned out to be a sort of firm that coached people to make more professional appearances. I’m making a lot of intuitive leaps, here, but the whole thing seemed really improvised, like he’d flown in and they’d just put him in something quick that was recognizable as style but not especially suitable to him. (And it was his least impressive red carpet appearance ever.)

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  3. Thank you, Guylty, for the comprehensive answers to my questions. I imagine having to work at a cattle call like that requires a bit of aggression and sharp elbows to get in the coveted front row, or maybe even the second.
    As far as I can tell photographers competing for those spots appear to be mostly male. Are they better at staking out a spot and defending it, just by virtue of their size or temperament? I imagine the “ladies go first” rule doesn’t apply in this situation. Now that I think about it, that quaint rule has probably gone the way of crinolines and hoop skirts a long time ago.

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    • I have looooooads to say on the topic of sexism in the industry. The photography business, that is. Thanks for bringing it up, Kathy. I shall write about that in an ooof because my collected thoughts on this topic would destroy the comment section ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. Thank you, Guylty, it was interesting to read and I enjoyed your humour in it. When I look at pictures I don’t spend too much time on analysing them – either I like them or I don’t. Maybe I should start questioning the ‘why’ more often. I know why I like this page so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And as for his choice of clothing: I second Suzanna’s post. Couldn’t have said it any better. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Analysing is not a must. For some people it spoils the enjoyment. As long as you are not required to review an image, settling for “I like”/”I dislike” is perfectly fine, Miss Emms ๐Ÿ™‚ But I am glad if my explanations and looks behind the scene give you some insights.

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  5. Meryl expressed my thoughts exactly. A picture will bother me but I have no idea why until I read about it here. I’ve noticed in quite a few shots that his legs look undersized and this explains why. Also, for a 6’2′” guy he sometimes seems much smaller. Thank you Guylty for helping me learn ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • There is a lot of fun in knowing the “why”, although some people do not really like the deconstruction of photography (or any kind of representation of life). Oh, and I love demystifying things – I am such a rebel ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  6. Probably this won’t help but I just wanted to share this small clip of Empire Awards: http://youtu.be/nMdvIp8gH1k It shows under what pressure everyone is.

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    • Great clip, thanks for that Miss Emms!! Gives a little insight into the whole spiel. Although I must say I found that rather civilised…

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  7. LOL! “The Little Catalogue of Horrors” Thanks for the post and :D..sorry for laughing,Guylty…I understand and feel your pain but I love all of them .

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    • I am glad if you do not feel put off a picture because of my constant niggling, Joanna – so like away!!! And maybe your mind is better than mine at overcompensating for the technical flaws! A godsend!

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  8. Miss Emms when I see clips like that I feel guilty for wanting so many pictures. I saw one like this of the LA premier and it was an eye opener. It amazes me what actors are willing to subject themselves to in order to have a successful career (and keep us happy.)

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    • Don’t feel guilty, Tree. Really – I think it is not as bad as you think. Just remember – this is a maximum of 10-15 minutes that the actors have to stand there. It’s part of being in the public eye – and this is actually a controlled environment for them, so it is definitely easier to come to terms with than the uncontrolled RL where fans, stalkers, paparrazzi and the general curious public may pull a camera at any time… I will grant them that it must feel weird, being flashed at and snapped like this, but they are pros who work in front of cameras every day of their working life. It is their business, and the more often they do it, the better they get at dealing with it. RA himself seems to have become accustomed to it in the last few years. It may not be his (or any other celeb’s) favourite part of the job, but it is probably comparatively easy.
      BTW This looks like a very civilised call to me – very little movement in the crowd of togs. I am probably biased, but I think it is less painful for the celebs. The togs on the other hand have to fight and jostle for a spot, take their pictures, shout to get the celebs attention (very clearly heard in this clip).

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  9. Theses ‘ooofs’ har really, really interesting. Personally, I like what the stylist did to RA’s style – although I hated the sleek suit he wore in Japan last year – but, admittedly, I too prefer “dressed-himself”.
    I often wonder why every one comments on RA being so extremely tall, but then I realize that 6’2” is not common height outside Scandinavia. I’m 5’8″ myself, but do not consider myself particularly tall.
    Now we’ve got the answer to why RA sometimes looks as though he has short legs. The image is distorted so he can fit. Thanks for the detailed description and explanation.

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    • Thank you, Mermaid! And yes, I do like a lot of the styling update that Ilaria has given RA.
      You know, I was discussing his height today with a German friend, and we both agreed that 1.88m is actually not particularly tall in our book. And really it isn’t. He comes across as so tall because all other actors apparently are hobbits… I didn’t notice it when I was shooting in Berlin (because I was looking down on everybody from a bench), but my friend (who was there with me) said she had expected him to appear taller when she saw him face-to-face on the red carpet. It’s funny how films/TV also distorts reality.

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      • he also has some proportional features that are unusual (a slightly long waist) — Obscura wrote about this a while back, I think.

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  10. Richardtreehouse, did you read the blog of Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend Laura? She went with her to the Oscars and it was interesting to read. That gives you another insight into the crazyness, a view from someone just like us. https://myspace.com/discover/editorial/2014/3/4/feature-i-went-to-the-oscars-with-my-best-friend-and-then-i-went-viral

    I personally think, if you are in that business (acting/singing) you really need something/someone who grounds you back on your own two feet.

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    • I just read it. Thank you for posting the link. It was very interesting and heartening to hear what she had to say about the actresses. Thanks, Tree

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    • Wow, that was interesting. Particularly the bit about “no one gives a flying f*ck if you are not famous”. Probably one of the reasons why I would not enjoy being at such an event (too megalomaniac for that)…

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    • Thanks Miss Emms, very entertaining and informative piece. (That part about P.S Hoffman and P.Walker just freaked me out )

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  11. Excellent ooof, Guylty. I, too, have always wondered why his legs look so stumpy in some photos when we all know they are gorgeously long and muscular. fan myself

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  12. I love the “bobblehead” reference most of all….

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    • Hehe, I would’ve thought you’d like the reference to the plus-size menswear catalogue ;-)… very mean of me. But then again so far from the truth, that noone would actually believe or think that.

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  13. Thanks for that little window into the world of event photography, Guylty- always interesting to get an inside perspective.

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  14. Loved this!

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  15. Interesting — so this is a variation on barrel distortion? The reverse of it?

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  16. […] 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 photography over the last couple of years. That is […]

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