The detail that made me like this photo of Richard Armitage. No, seriously

Screen shot 2014-11-26 at 8.21.06 PMDetail of below.


35e53fRichard Armitage as photographed by Mitchell Nguyen McCormack in October 2014, for Da Man magazine, December 2014 issue. Source: Click to enlarge.


I really do like this photo — and after pondering for a while why that might be, I think my reaction derives from an error. That is to say, this is not a photo that does a very good job of representing Richard Armitage as I believe him to be. Like the other photo we saw today, it’s supposed to create an effect, and this one does a better job than that one in that the effect as it appears is more immediately plausible to me, anyway. If I’m going to have Richard Armitage in men’s formalwear, for right now I’ll definitely stick with Blair Getz Mezibov, at least at this point, although that style of photo wasn’t incredibly convincing to me, either, at least at first. (I ended up liking his vid a lot, though.)

I think what intrigues me about this photo stems precisely from the fact that it appears to me to be wrong, or as if McCormack wasn’t trying very hard to understand Armitage as a sitter, but rather to create a particular mood. So Armitage is giving us his “hard” or “intense” look — not quite as fierce as Porter, but definitely moving in that direction — and the rough background, the dark clothes, support the intense eyes in creating that impression for me. This is how a man is supposed to look. The eyes, the shortness and tightness with which everything is kept, even the beard suggests hardness. The light is not exactly unfriendly, but it’s not kind, either.

At the same time, however — those lips. When I look up close, they undermine the intense mood for me. The picture isn’t that great, I think it fails on most accounts of what I consider a good image of Armitage, but somehow the self-contradiction retrieves it for me. His lips are thin but not pulled into thinness or menace; they’re gently placed together. Maybe that’s it — they add a note of gentleness to the whole picture (without being exactly “soft” in the way that more luxurious lips than Armitage’s often are), or maybe pullback. As if he could step back from the photo and say, “Oh.” As if he could re-assess the hardness he’s signaling in the very next instant, as if he’s already thinking about doing that. As if the lips could take back the subliminal message of the stubble, make the beard only a sign of roughness against something very much different, buried, but ready to come out.

~ by Servetus on November 27, 2014.

11 Responses to “The detail that made me like this photo of Richard Armitage. No, seriously”

  1. That little elfin ear is just killing me. Can’t help it.


  2. ….looks like He wants to tell me something about his concern for….ME!?…but..what……?….Humma’ McCormack-Heatherly.


  3. Hey, I just saw a pic of him from same mag in a velvet tux wearing a ring. That’s a new one for me. I’ve never seen him with anything on his fingers. Only the enclave and slightly baffling cuff he wore for the Thorin audition.
    Not suggesting it implies anything about his personal life and could have been a prop, it’s just something new .. Or is it?


    • *necklace not enclave!


    • I personally don’t think it’s his ring although there’s been some speculation that it’s his Hobbit ring (the one the dwarf actors got as a souvenir of the production).

      Thanks for the comment, and welcome.


  4. Yes ..this is it,Serv !.. besides where are my fav. “big lines on the forehead?!!” 😉


  5. You’re right, the lips do soften the whole image. However, I’ve got to admit I’m not too keen on these pictures – any of them – there’s a hardness and sterility to them. And, is it just me, or does RA look sad in these? The usual focus on and glint in his eyes is not there; I don’t see it, anyway.
    I’m aware that this is artistic expression, but they are not my favourites.


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