D: Which of his selfies is your favorite? #richardarmitage

[Started while my brain cells are still operating in an organized way and before we do the next occupational therapy appointment. Response to Guylty’s challenge.]

Richard Armitage selfie, tweeted June 15, 2016. This would be a candidate for favorite, I suppose. Because it makes me sweat (in the immortal words of INXS).

I admit that I’m visually challenged on some level, but I’ve been surprised at the vehemence of the reaction about Richard Armitage’s selfies over the years, both from vehement rejection to incredible adulation. A while back I wrote a post on them because I was frankly surprised by the assertion that they were evidence that he was disproportionately vain. I concluded that although he might be, the selfies themselves weren’t good evidence for that.

I liked this one a lot, too, as you can see. End of year 2014 / 2015.

Full disclosure: here is my experience with selfies. I took one in front of St Peter’s Basilica back in 2006 with my digital camera (Nikon Coolpix) because I wanted a record I had been there and didn’t want to risk asking someone in the crowd. I also took one in front of the theater poster at Love, Love, Love, but I got rid of it because it looked so silly. Oh, and there was one that I took at the request of a friend with a poster under my nose, so all you can see is my eyes. That’s pretty much the extent of it. But I belong to the not-often-photographed segment of the population anyway; I don’t have a lot of use for pictures and I tend to prefer my memories to images. I don’t have any close RL friend, either, who posts a lot of selfies, except for the one who sells Younique. Neither do I have the impression that the nieces are particularly preoccupied by the practice. They don’t have access to unlimited data, though, so perhaps they would take more selfies if they had better internet access. Then again, they seem to be “behind the game” in terms of maturity — A only got interested in boys this year (she’s 14) and B hasn’t shown any signs of that yet. She’s way more into her pets.

I liked this a lot but I don’t think it qualifies as a selfie. Fall 2016.

So, I’m fully aware that my relationship with the phenomenon is probably atypical. But in light of that, I guess I’m pretty neutral about the selfies as selfies. It’s just another genre of picture, and it seems to me that the question of audience is paramount here; i.e., there are no pictures without meaning-makers. Correspondingly, I never bought the argument that manips were inherently immoral either; it’s not the image per se that’s the problem but the way people attribute significance to them. (And, to address the concrete issue — the images reflected people’s beliefs about Armitage’s relationships, they didn’t cause them.) I tend to have stronger opinions about photoshoots (for example, I really don’t think Sarah Dunn’s pictures are all that, most of the time), insofar as I think they relate to the matter of a professional (self-)presentation and are more significant for that reason. So I suppose I think that the audience of filmmakers and casting agents is more relevant than the audience of fans in interpreting images of Armitage, if you will.

In terms of personal preference: I like better the selfies where he smiles, where he hasn’t erased the entire terrain of his skin. But I don’t hate the ones where he doesn’t smile or has sand-blasted the wrinkles off his face.

I guess in thinking about this, I did identify one clear pattern of preference. I like this one:

Richard Armitage birthday selfie 2017 (later deleted).

And this one:

Early selfie posted by Armitage, August 2014.

Do you see the pattern?

Yes — I admit it — my favorite selfies are the ones where Richard Armitage puts food on his face. I’m really pining for him to photograph himself while balancing a raspberry on the tip of his nose. When that happens, I will die happy!

[Thanks for all the comments — I haven’t given up on answering them. We don’t have any doctors’ appointments tomorrow so if dad sleeps through the night again I should be able to get caught up. Fingers crossed.]

~ by Servetus on July 4, 2018.

32 Responses to “D: Which of his selfies is your favorite? #richardarmitage”

  1. To be honest, I’m not crazy about his selfies. They invariably show his face at unflattering or odd angles that end up distorting his image.

    I know that taking selfies is an art and that it’s tricky to handle perspective. Still, considering our lovely man has such long arms, one would expect better results… Of course, having long arms can be counterproductive if you can’t focus your eyesight on the screen to make any necessary adjustments to the angle.

    Oh, well, what matters is whether he’s having a nice time with it! Plus, the “imperfection” of his selfies maybe revealing in itself- he’s human and isn’t afraid to show it. God bless him!

    Liked by 3 people

    • it’s striking how many of them show his face at an angle, it’s true. I honestly think most people who take selfies (not sure if this applies to Armitage) just take them, no? The point is some kind of documentation, not necessarily a perfect face?

      I’m happy to see them when he posts them but I could also live without them entirely. They don’t contribute significantly (or detract significantly) from my perception of him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Luck on your dad’s next OT appointment. Well selfies right now just wanting some selfies from my son who is in Japan, he left last week and so far all is well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad to hear it’s going well and I hope he has lots of selfies to share!

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      • Today Thursday (it’s 12:57 pm there) there he is started teaching his first camp. Each camp last for three days and this is day one of the first camp. Can’t wait to hear how it’s going but might not hear from him during the camp times. We got one selfie and a few pictures of the food he is eating.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LOL, maybe he’ll bring a few recipe ideas home 🙂

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          • I am hoping that that he will bring some recipes or ideas home with him and maybe like tofu too. I like tofu and the rest will eat it but would rather not. I told him to be opened minded and that theirs might taste better that what we can get. He did try different ramen noodles that Maruchan that he liked much better. He spent time practicing with chopsticks before going over, even ate spaghetti and meatballs with chopsticks. My classmate who when last year pretty much now only eats with chopsticks and my son might do the same. Hopefully we get to hear about the first camp here in a couple days, I think he moves today (Sunday early am there now).

            Liked by 1 person

    • 🙂 Je pense à vous.
      Mon fils parle de partir au Japon, pour plusieurs mois, dans le cadre de ses études d’ingénieur en robotique. Demain ce sera la “Japan-expo” à Paris. Passionné de culture et cuisine nippone, il nous confectionne des repas à base de sushis très diététiques… Fan attitude and geek family!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for chiming in on the fan challenge!
    The question whether selfies are an indication of vanity, remains interesting. “There are no pictures without meaning-makers”, indeed. And in re-examining my own (critical) attitude towards RA’s selfies, I have come to realise that my displeasure with the selfies is as much about the pictures (and the manipulation of them) themselves, as it is about the reaction to the selfies.
    Keeping my fingers crossed for your dad’s continued recuperation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess I don’t understand why they are bad photos. I’d probably be more convinced by an argument about genre, i.e., a successful selfie has features x, y and z and this is how his selfies transgress those informal rules. I mean, to me, they’re fairly casual photos that are edited to eliminate all rough edges. In that sense, they’re usually sort of vanilla pudding. I don’t love it, I actually am using it at the moment to deliver the massive pill quantities my father requires in a palatable swallow, but I can’t bring myself to get frustrated that it exists, either.

      Thanks for the good wishes!

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  4. Well I like that he takes selfies bec he is so
    photogenic and as a non professional picture
    taker who sucks at taking selfies myself I
    think he’s very good. My only experience w selfies is w the 2 nieces who are 8 and love taking selfies (don’t know what that says
    there) w me and I do it to bond w them and
    send the pics to my parents bec the sister in law
    doesn’t really share a lot of the twins pics
    w my parents anymore. But Richards selfies
    so many of them are flawless no wrinkles
    no raccoon eyes no blotchy or chapy skin
    and that seems a little unreal to me. The pic you posted w the meat on his face bday pic 3
    2014 seemed more genuine bec it showed some tired lines under his gorgeous eyes.

    Meant to add w everyone else good news your dad slept thru the night and continues to improve and you get some R and R as well.

    Like

    • Two nights in a row now! ( don’t know how parents of newborns deal with this stuff, it made me feel psychotic)

      I think the distinction between your selfies with your nieces and his is that they’re shared with a particular, small group of meaning makers, i.e., your parents. They’re intended for a very small group. There’s been a fair amount of speculation over the years that Armitage also has private social media limited to a very small group. I would imagine that any selfies destined for them might be different than those destined for us.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah I don’t doubt he has a private group of close friends and family that he shares pics and tweets w that we the public will never see. When his mom passed away in early May I would hope he got a swarm of condolences from friends and colleagues privately. But part of my attraction to him as an individual is that he seems very open and honest re something so devastating and private like his mom’s death. He’s aloof yes which I like also but he seems very down to earth and honest as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • This is interesting — and wonder if one of the core issues isn’t so much vanity as (perceived) dishonesty?

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          • Hmm dishonesty not sure I understand? You mean who he really is vs who he is perceived in public?

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            • For example, we know he has wrinkles. When he erases them, so as to appear that he does not have them, this could be perceived as dishonest.

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              • Ahh yes good point which is I guess my point
                that his professional pic seemed more open
                and honest than some of those selfies where
                his wrinkles have disappeared. I think he is
                very photogenic no matter what pic he is in or
                self takes although like his George Michael
                pose doesn’t really look like him as compared
                to the professional pics or some of the other
                pics like at Newcastle or The Hobbit promos.

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                • I think he was “in character” for the George Michael pose — for a film that he started work on and which then didn’t materialize.

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  5. I just saw this post. Coincidentally, I’ve posted something critical about the selfies on tumblr yesterday which did not go down well with some fans. I also read the post you linked above. Thanks for doing the math. I was curious about that.

    I’m still not into selfies, although the ones with context and those that are humorous are ok. Those which are set up to have the subject’s face as the primary or the only focus, well, they do seem to indicate vanity and appear to be made with the self-assurance that they will be viewed with pleasure and admiration. I call those selfies “beauty shots.” RA seems to be posting this type of selfie more often these days. The “brown-eyed” selfies and the one where he’s lying on the floor, for instance. Also, those three were over-edited nearly close to uncanny valley levels. That was my gut reaction when I first saw them.

    But I do like some of his selfies despite my general opinion of them. The physalis selfie is one of them and the “astronaut” selfie, too.

    All the best to you and your dad.

    (Feel free to delete if this is a duplicate comment. I thought I saw the original go through but I’m not sure.)

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    • Thanks for the good wishes! I found the thread you referenced — wow, that was insane. I really thought we were past the days in this fandom where no one was allowed to say anything critical about St. Richard and how everything he does or says is perfection. What is wrong with saying “I don’t like” or even “I wish he wouldn’t” ? Saying something critical is “shitty behavior”? On what planet?

      This is my thing about the assertion that shots only of a face indicate vanity (a hypothesis in the first piece, not an assertion) — I don’t know how we would know that for any individual, because I don’t know how we could possibly know what his intent is. I can say something like “well, if I posted that many pictures of myself in that way online it would be indicative of vanity,” but I don’t know how we can say that about him. First of all, there’s a regular clamor for a selfie from fans (not as much there used to be but I still see it whenever he goes silent for a while). Second, assuming that we think that at present, posting a selfie is seen as a socially normal or acceptable thing to do, then he’s just doing something that many other people do as well. (Just because I don’t do it or enjoy doing it doesn’t mean it’s not generally popular — so before I conclude anything on the basis of his selfies I’d have to understand better why people do it in general. Admittedly, since I have no issues with selfie posting I’m not that interested). Third, at least for me, one reason I don’t like to have pictures of myself floating around is that I don’t look good in candids — there’s something about my face that always makes me look ridiculous. I look reasonably ok in a posed photo someone else is taking where I am concentrating on looking ok, but most of the time i look foolish. So if I were going to get in the habit of posting pictures of myself, it seems reasonable that I would alter them in some way to look better, because I’m guessing nobody really wants photos of themselves that they don’t like floating around, and in his case, they don’t just float around; they are never forgotten. In my own case, I can’t change my facial features, and oddly, I happen not to have significant wrinkles. He, on the other hand, has had forehead wrinkles for decades now. If they bug him, why not alter them? Are alterations to the face (whether digital, or surgical) inherently problematic choices? I’ve always hated my nose, but I’ve noticed recently that its shape is changing and I’m unlikely to like the result, if the faces of family members are any indication. I just don’t have the energy or the money (or maybe the physical courage — I hate the thought of anesthesia, period) to make a change, but if I did, would that make me vain?

      I guess we need a definition of vain, but I don’t think that wanting to look one’s best and wanting others to see one looking one’s best is necessarily an indication of vanity.

      But here we get to meaning making — I assumed the brown-eyed selfies related to the My Zoe project, where he has brown eyes, and possibly to his own amusement about what it’s like to have brown eyes. It never would have occurred to me to call that a “beauty shot,” honestly. It’s just a picture of him with a different “identity.” Most people don’t like the brown eyes.

      It seems to me that one could make the argument that his selfies break some kind of generic convention (depending on what those conventions are and what their purpose is). I.e., Kelly DS was saying that the purpose of selfies is to tell a story, and his don’t do that often or as much as they used to. Guylty has said something similar many times although she doesn’t usually give details and I dont’ remember if she’s posted about it; she appears to assert that they are bad photos, not just bad selfies, although I’m not discerning enough to see why that is without further explanation. Fair enough — in that sense they are failing to fulfill their purpose, but I still don’t see them as indicative of vanity. Or one could argue that the purpose of selfies is to show a casual glance of how one is — in which his would be “bad” because they are more staged than casual.

      Like

      • Yeah I think your last point is really good
        His selfies look kinda staged instead of natural. In fact I think the photos that Dan Kennedy took for The Lost Daughters Fens shoot are more REAL bec they show his wrinkles and his touch of gray and he seems to me more comfortable and genuine than his selfies. I don’t think he is vain like some of these celebrities that post everything about themselves in every possible way. I guess as a celebrity he doesn’t want to show his warts and all on social media? I’m just more for him keeping it real.

        Like

        • I’m not sure “natural” and “real” are the same thing, but I also think we have to distinguish between “reality” and “verisimilitude” (the appearance of reality) in evaluating photos. I’m not sure the perception that his selfies are not very realistic makes them bad selfies per se, unless we say that creating the appearance of reality is an important feature of selfies.

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  6. I don’t exactly have any issues with his selfies, but they always surprise me. Somehow they usually don’t look like the image I have of RA in my head. Assuming he takes a bunch of selfies, I think he must choose those that fit the image he has of himself in his head. That ‘s not necessarily how a fan would think of him, though. And then he makes alterations presumably to make them the best image he thinks his fans will like … interesting because many fans would prefer unaltered selfies that fit the image of him in their own heads. Is it vanity? I expect that it is more like misguidedly trying to please fans. Although from things he’s said, he also is not all that comfortable with the fact that (like all of us) he is aging. Personally, I like the lived-in look — although maybe not on myself!

    Glad you’re sleeping through the night. Both my kids had their clocks turned around when they were born. I was completely insane for two weeks each time. Now it’s my dog that keeps waking me up. Ah well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely think there’s a sort of “sweet spot” for selfie consumption age-wise, i.e., there’s a group of people who engage in the practice themselves and have certain conventions about doing it. I feel like what he does fits into that at least plausibly.

      I agree he seems to feel discomfort about aging (that comes across from some of his earliest remarks). I kind of don’t get that, on the whole I’m enjoying aging (with the exception of the energy deficit) but whatever, he’s gotta do what he think she’s gotta do.

      It’s amazing the difference a coherent night of sleep makes. I mean, it totally made me understand a lot of things about new parent behavior that I hadn’t thought about much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t do many selfies myself. Those I do take have some context. For example, at my older son’s high school graduation or at the Billy Joel concert in New York with my husband’s cousins from England or on a tour boat with my hair blowing in the wind and the Statue of Liberty in the background. Selfies for selfies’ sake are not something I do. I also don’t have Facebook or Instagram so mostly they’re just for me. Funny, I was looking through what my iPhone categorizes as my selfies and I found some that just show the dog’s face! (I had turned the phone camera around for a better shot. Lol.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know exactly what you mean! I took one w my sister in law at a Bon Jovi concert in May that I sent to my sis and wanted to keep for memories sake. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry, to tired to write in english at the moment!

    Ich freue mich eigentlich immer wenn es ein Lebenszeichen von ihm gibt. Wer dann für das Bild auf den Auslöser gedrückt hat, sprich Selfie oder nicht, ist mir eigentlich wurscht.
    Was mich stört ist das unnatürliche Posen (zum Beispiel liebevoll Entenschnute genannt) auf den meisten der Pics, die er teilt und die Filter.
    Über das Wieso des Totfilterns der Bilder abe ich mir eigentlich noch keine großen Gedanken gemacht, ich bleibe da eher bei den Basics und teile ein in ‘gefällt mir’ und ‘gefällt mir nicht’.
    Aber ich finde es interessant zu hören, wer auf was achtet bzw Wert legt und das es scheinbar mehr Leute gibt, die die Bilder aus dem ein oder anderen Grund nicht mögen, als ich bisher angenommen hatte.
    Und das Niederschreien von anderen Meinungen im Fandom ist nach wie vor einfach sch****!!!!

    Hope your Dad is doing better and you haven’t given in on killing the unruly patient yet :*

    Like

    • Any language I read is fine!

      I’m happy to see a picture from him, except if I feel like he’s posting it b/c somebody pestered him for it — that is a big turnoff for me. That doesn’t happen much anymore.

      Do you think he’s doing the lip think on purpose?

      I haven’t killed him yet. Yet. We have a minimum of eight medical appointments this week, though, so there will be plenty of opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I think it’s intentional. I mean, how couldn’t it be after that number of selfies he published till now?

        Hope you are still sane and your Dad ist still improving!?!

        Like

  8. […] me much; I am not that thrilled about audiobooks; and I don’t care that much about selfies (so I’m neither turned off nor on by them). I’m among the people who are a bit surprised by Armitage’s decision to appear at a […]

    Like

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