I quote myself here, with my immediate reaction when I followed the link that Sahraobsessed had thankfully alerted me of via Twitter. You may imagine that exclamation at about lawn mower decibels with a measure of post-marathon breathlessness thrown in. Oh, and of course with the same tone of incredulity that a 7-nil soccer win against Brazil elicits *ggg*. Many, many curses are currently floating around in my brain in reaction to the images. “What the f*ck, man???” is actually the tamest one of them all. 😀 Ok, Guylty, hold it together and do your duty now.
How extraordinarily fortunate that I had started researching for an *ooof* on Wednesday – and lo and behold – for the image that adorns the
offensive ST article… Well, ditch that image (which I am not *that* fond of, anyway) and instead choose a triple *ooof* from the rest of the images that are the result of the same shoot. And let me add here that I am more than glad to have been pointed to the rest of the images (initially discovered by RA Bulgaria on FB, if I am reliably informed). If not, my verdict of the photographer may have been unjust. Not to mention I would have missed the unbelievable hotness sultry suggestiveness of the whole shoot.
My breath hitches and my pulse peaks upon seeing this image again. Really, A needs a license for a pose like that. Especially in combination with *that* stare and *that* pair of trousers. UNF. Only to be used sparingly and not to be applied during night-time. *fans herself* Ok, but all the drooling aside, let’s have a proper look at Mr Bootsy-Booty. Dressed in a white casual shirt, green knee-padded trousers and black combat boots, Mr A is lounging
quite suggestively on a grey squishy sofa. While leaning back into a corner of the sofa, resting his left arm on the arm rest, A has placed his right foot on the couch, holding on to his shin with his right hand. The pose is a rather “open” one *coughs*: Our gaze has unrestricted access to… well… his “centre of attention”, really, because he has opened his thighs for the relaxed pose. Also visible in the image is the back wall with a doorway towards the left, a floral black-on-grey/blue wallpaper, a star burst mirror and a silver console table.
What we see here is a pretty typical example of a portrait shoot commissioned by a newspaper for an article. We have the subject put into some sort of context on location – the location being the place where (most likely) the journalist who was writing the required article interviewed the subject. We already know from the ST article that the journalist interviewed RA in his dressing room, i.e. in his current place of work, The Old Vic theatre in London. She made mention of a pair of “fashionable green reinterpretation of (…) motorcycle trousers”, too, so we can assume that the photo shoot took place the same day that the journalist met Mr A for her interview with him.
The series of photos by Francesco Guidicini is a classic example of a photographer putting an impromptu location to use for a newspaper feature. Three options: a) The photographer may look for a neutral background, preferably with monochrome walls against which the subject may be placed. b) The subject could be placed in a context that fits his job (for instance the images by Washington Post and show A posing in the auditorium). c) The photographer can rearrange a predominantly busy background or place his subject within a busy setting in such a way that the the composition is still pleasant and interesting. The way his job works, the photographer will not have much time to get the shots in the bag. He has a deadline for submission – and his subject is most likely not available for hours of shooting. What ensues is some manic furniture rearranging and man-handling the subject from spot A to spot B.that appeared in the
The location Guidicini had to work with, an upstairs foyer in the Old Vic, was not that easy: The wallpaper is extremely busy with a black, frilly floral pattern. There is not much wall space either, because there is a bar at one end of the foyer space, a large staircase at the other, and a row of tall windows opposite the wall-papered wall. As a little extra-challenge – because frankly, photographing is suuuuuuch an easy business… – the wall features a large star burst mirror, which will show a reflection, no matter which side the photographer finally chooses to shoot from. Add to that the usual problem of cross-lighting from different light sources (daylight from the windows, tungsten light from the wall sconces and the ceiling light, flash), and you have a challenge even before you have to deal with a capricious celebrity.
And not only that. For a press shoot like this one, there is no entourage of stylists, make-up-artists and scarf-fluffers on set. This is pretty much a documentary shot – of A *that* day, *that* time, in *that* location. No professional thought has been spared on his look (presumably Mr A has “dressed himself” again
and not badly, lest you should think I don’t like his get-up) – and hence the casual rocker look does not really match the location that was prescribed for the shoot. Padded motorcycle trousers and chunky combat boots in front of frilly wallpapers and delicate silver console tables? Contradictory! I would expect the back alley, a plain rehearsal room, a corner in the wings. This way, A stands out more than he should in these images, a foreign body outside of its usual habitat.
The bounty from the shoot, however, is plentiful. Twelve images are accessible at the syndication service Profile, and each and every one of them is *ooof*-worthy – there is profile porn, smoulder shots, long legs love, body power etc. and all of them illustrate the points I have made so far. So is this the best one? No. Beauty and truth are in the eye of the beholder. I do not, for instance, think that this image is a portrait of the man as such. To me this looks like an image that has been “acted” rather than posed. This is a critical assessment entirely based on *my* interpretation of what *I* believe he is like. Yes, I still cling to the rather innocent view of RA as a modest, unassertive, “normal” man (hello Ms Gold 😀 *waves*), and the in-your-face sultryness and sex-pot poses that draw attention to sexual markers such as groin, arse, thighs, legs, hairy forearms, just do not look like RA to me. Hell, yes, of course he may have changed. He’s reported to “know what he is selling”- a statement that speaks of confidence in his own worth, his abilities and his bankability as an actor. And even though Mr A (in the same interview) still refuses to accept that he is particularly attractive, he no doubt has learnt that his looks are one of the attractions he can sell. So maybe this *is* his new persona – the alpha male launching a devastating attack on ovaries world-wide? I simply don’t believe that. I don’t think that the shoot exemplifies a new confidence or a different attitude towards photoshoots on his part. To me he is channeling his current character’s personality in the shoot – a proud man, unafraid, slightly on the defense, assertive, impressive. To me, this is more Proctor than A. Or more “actor” than “man”.
“R___?” The soft knock on the door to the dressing room caused the man to look up from the manuscript he had buried his nose in. He cleared his throat. “Yes?” “Just to let you know the journalist has arrived”, a muffled voice spoke through the door. “She’s got a photographer in tow, too. They are waiting downstairs. Whenever you are ready…” Ah yes, an interview request. There had been quite a few of them recently as the play he was starring in was heading towards premiere night. He sighed and closed the manuscript with a resolute thud. Getting up from his chair he adjusted his waistband and cleared his throat.
A critical look at himself in the mirror revealed a middle-aged, tall grump. Oh dear. Interview mode, A___, interview! He moved closer to the mirror, peering closely into his own eyes. There was already a backlog of exhaustion in his face, from several weeks of intense rehearsing, and the strain of the first week of previews. Three and a half hours of live acting, under the scrutiny of an audience, his name in big letters over the door. He felt the responsibility heavily on his shoulders. The director was still adjusting the play to its final version, which meant constant re-learning of the stage directions and intense concentration on his co-stars for the lines and actions that would prompt his. Christ,I look knackered, he exhaled. No. I look my age. He huffed at the indignation of the inexorable advancing of his age. At least I am wearing my biker outfit today. That should shave at least ten years off. He patted his green trousers with a smug smile.
Good thing I had the beard and hair dyed again last week… His gaze moved over his face – tolerably handsome, forehead too angular, villainous. How did he ever procure the part of such an inherently good man as Proctor??? Ah yes, the man had a blemished past. Of course that required a scary face. Porter. Thorin. Thornton. Gisborne. Men with definite shadow
. A smirk fluttered over his mien. A man with *eye* shadow! He chuckled at the memory of the heavily eye-lined medieval knight. Hang on. He reached out for the jar of make-up utensils that stood on his dressing table. After a rummage he found what he needed – a soft, black kohl pencil. Leaning closer to the mirror he accentuated the shape of his eyes with the black eyeliner. Thank goodness the eyelashes had been part of the whole-body hair-dyeing procedure in preparation for the run of the show. Personally, he would’ve drawn the line beneath his chin, but the make-up artist in charge had insisted on applying the dark colour to his chest hair, too, claiming it had to match his face for the shirtless scene…
The paintwork finished, he leaned back to get a look at himself in the mirror. Not too bad – the look had “cool” written all over him from the peaks of his widows to the steel caps of his boots. “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the sexiest of them all?” he intoned into the sparkling looking glass over his dressing table. “Famed is thy smoulder, my King. But hold, a sultrier man I see. Scars cannot hide his sexy grace. Alas, he is more sultry than thee.” He jumped at the mirror’s answer – but not for the extraordinary rarity of being spoken to by an inanimate object, but for the impudent reply. “Sexier? I’ll give you sultry!” With an angry hiss he turned around and exited through his dressing room door.
He found the journalist in the front of house bar on the first floor. “Hi, my name is R___”, he boomed into the empty room. Then he fell into the corner of the squishy sofa and made himself comfortable. “Ask away”, he purred as he adjusted his right foot on the sofa and slowly spread his legs…