Happy St Patrick’s Day everybody! While you are reading this, the final *spooof*, especially written for FanstRA 4, I will be donning the greens myself, standing outside in the cold to attend the annual Paddy’s Day Parade, together with thousands of Dubliners. On the occasion of the national holiday of my adopted country I had hoped to write a specially themed *spooof* for the series. The go-to man for that is… *ta dah*… John Mulligan, of course, who must have had an Irish granddad with that kind of name…
And yes, you could be easily mistake Mulligan – or A___ – as Irish. He has the typical look for that. Whot? I hear you say? Yes. The Irish – contrary to popular belief – are not at all all red-haired and freckled! The typical Irish look is actually dark/black hair and bright blue eyes. Remind you of someone? Well, RA’s hair is dyed, so unfortunately my little fantasy ends here, but in the case of fictional character Mulligan – and with *that* name – the interpretation is allowed.
Anyhow, I digress. Mulligan it is today. But – oh woe – there are no official press/promo images from A___’s stint on the 2009 season of Moving on, in which he appears in Episode 3, “Drowning Not Waving”. In lieu of a Mulligan picture, I can present you with another dud, however, from the poison cabinet of A____ as himself *ahem* and taken around the time of his apppearance in Moving on.
A controversial choice for a dud? I have indeed heard that this is a favourite shot for some RA fans. In that case – please tune out here, you may not want to see me picking the image apart. Cos, yeah, I don’t particularly like this shot (although there are others taken by photographer Jenny Lewis in the same series that are quite yummy…). In this case we are looking at a prime example of composition fail. It is a picture that was taken outside of Armitage leaning against some colourful hoarding. Also visible is a roughly cobbled path with a few brown leaves strewn on them.
The background as such is not altogether nasty: The colourful design on the hoarding is actually quite nice and regular in itself with different colour planks of wood painted on. Although not quite graffiti, the background has a lively and yet not altogether distracting effect that adds interest to the shot. However, the fact that part of the grey cobbles of the footpath have sneaked into the frame, is not quite so pleasing to the eye. While the inclusion of the ground in the frame literally anchors the subject in the shot, it also contrasts very starkly in terms of colour and texture with the sleak(-ish) painted hoarding. It also introduces a horizon line into the image – although that is not necessarily a bad thing. I imagine the photographer decided that had to be done so as to not cut off her subject’s feet…
Where the image falls down, though, is the overall composition. The photographer has placed her subject bang in the centre – which is good. But why has she left so much space to either side of him? The easy answer is, because she had to get him into the shot full-length, all the fine 6’2″ of him. IMHO the image would have worked much better if she had decided to shoot this as a half-length portrait instead. She would have cut Armitage’s admittedly nice long legs, yes, but she would have also lost the superfluous and unnecessary expanse of background to either side of him. The way he the picture stands now, A___ looks a bit lost in it.
A couple of words about the posing, too. I think there should have been a bit more direction for A___ in this shot, too. While his leaning pose is meant to convey a sense of being relaxed, it causes a slight bit of distortion in that his left leg – which is closer to the camera than Armitage’s torso – appears a tiny bit bigger than the rest of his body. Overall, the pose looks a bit “slouchy”, especially as Armitage was allowed to keep his hands in his pocket. Together with his *very* casual clothes, this looks a bit geeky and unstylish, imho. Yes, the famous A??? style of menswear is rearing its ugly head again. Wearing what can only be termed as Hobo-trousers (see those fake patches? One shudders…) teemed with a stripey blue shirt that is *not* tucked in in combination with what appears to be a faded soft or suede leather jacket, makes him appear slightly unfashionable and careless. Well, that holds its own attraction for some people (and I would even include myself in that, fashion-challenged as I am) – but is *not* really what should be seen in shots that could appear in the national press… In the words of Martin Freeman, his publicist is probably “having a coronary”.
Thankfully, Mr A??? has learned. He has been dazzling us recently with his yummy outfits, courtesy of the help of a stylist. He really has “moved on”, hasn’t he? Gone are the days of awkward posing and questionable styling, and hello! tight trousers and sexy little cardigans. Personally, I find it very exciting to witness the development of A???’s media persona – from the publicity-shy, awkward “schoolboy” to a man capable of influencing the way he is represented in the media. I doubt he is ever going to be truly media-savvy – but at least he has understood the need to appear and appeal in press images. As those are our main points of contact with him, we can only thank him for cleaning up his act.
And that, darling readers, concludes my stint on my own wordpress blog for 2013. It has been an absolute pleasure blogging on my own platform for FanstRA 4. Through my participation in the event I have come in contact with many RA bloggers from all over the fandom, on various platforms. I have hugely enjoyed the interaction with you on your or my blogs and I hope that the new commenting friendships that have been formed will transfer back over into our regular schedules. I will be returning to my home on me+richard from Tuesday and I would be thrilled to interact with you there. Or on my tumblr home. Whatever rocks your boat – as long as we are all rocking for R___. Much love and happy Paddy’s Day from Ireland,