Four For The Price Of One

Photographer Andy Gotts has finally given us some more of those images he took when he shot RA earlier this year.

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Fresh from my #Lockdown hideaway and a little something for the bank-holiday weekend…here are some unseen shots from the glorious barmy Armi #RichardArmitage. I thought I would just like to whet your appetites before the actual chosen photographs are worked on. Loved working with RA and he showed just what a pro he was. Many actors you need to work into their diary, and most need ’space’ before and after the shoot. Whereas the Admirable Armitage dropped by to the shoot on the way to the airport. Most of the shoot-proper is along the mean and moody vibe but I do enjoy making people gurn at my lens at most shoots. Many people hate the formality of a photo shoot, so if you get people to lark around it lets them drop their guard and be their real selves, BTW I recently binged watched #TheStranger on #Netflix. What a fabulous mini series (though I did guess what happened to the missing wife quite early on. The actress who played ‘the Stranger’ did a wonderful job too, I was hooked from episode 1. #RichardArmitage #ThorinOakenshield #TheHobbit #Spooks #Hannibal #TheCrucible #photography #celebrityphotographer #AndyGotts #oneshotgotts

A post shared by Andy Gotts (@drgotts) on

Let’s say one thing here – Armitage is remarkably un-vain when it comes to photo shoots. I wouldn’t really say that these pictures depict him at his most attractive… *ahem* Or rather: the grimaces don’t depict him at his most attractive. Otherwise he seems to be in the bloom of his years at the moment *sigh* Gotts is 100% right of course – let your subject fool and play a bit before you shoot them, and it makes them feel much better in front of the camera. It’s a phenomenon I encountered when I took pictures of my kids. They were quite sheepish when I took some portraits of them, but when I told them to grab some props and pose as outrageously as they wanted, they came up with stuff like this.

So yeah, take it from Gotts – and try it with your own family.

I have to say, the best thing about that IG post is actually the little accompanying text. It always, *always* delights me to the utmost when I read complimentary things about RA. “Admirable Armitage”. A non-diva who doesn’t need a whole load of fuss in order to do a photo shoot. Who completely lets loose in front of the camera. Well, yes, a pro. But also a pro in the sense that he is aware of the photographer’s work and doesn’t make it harder for the tog by being difficult and obstructive.

Well, now I am more than curious to see what the other “moody” photos are like. I hope Gotts will show them, soon.

 

 

74 thoughts on “Four For The Price Of One

  1. i reckon by the pictures he dropped originally, the moody ones will be drop dead gorgeous.These are funny and quite frankly anyone would look goofy puling those faces
    Wondered if Gotts was using Admirable Armitage in the context of The Admirable Crichton ?

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    • Anything ‘moody’ that has Armitage on it, will probably look gorgeous. But yeah, this is more of the “not pretty, but rare” kind.
      I had to look up “Admirable Crichton” – I didn’t know the film.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Those photos are wild. 😂

    (Quick aside: Lovely pictures of your kids. I should hire you to shoot me sometime. I hate having my picture taken, but I also like having pictures. This looks right up my alley. And I have props for days. When we’re back to normal, I’m flying you in for a private session!)

    I wholeheartedly agree with your closing remarks. I love hearing that he’s nice to work with. Because I like him and I believe he’s a very nice guy (when you get to know him and he lets people in a little—which is unfortunately not us) and I love having that belief reinforced by other people.

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    • Yeah, the photos are not exactly pretty. Hence my first reaction – “unvain”…
      Re. a private shoot: Any time! The secret is actually just having lots of time. And establishing trust, having confidence that your photographer is shooting nice pictures (and will only show you the good ones, anyway).
      I think you have put your finger exactly on it – it is nice to know from “those *in* the know” that he is friendly, professional and funny. Those characteristics do not always come across in his own communications on SM…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hilarious! I love the single eyebrow action top left – Guy in a very good mood? 🤣🤣🤣

    Love the kids pics too 😊 And yes, so great that everyone loves working with him 😍

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    • That smugness in the very first picture 😂. Oh dear oh dear, I hope this will not come back to haunt him. Just imagine, if malevolent people want to illustrate a critical article about him. Here are the go-to images 😁
      It really is nice to know he is such a pro.

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    • Not sure if I would call these pictures charming, either. I think I was more back-handed in my assessment. Saying that he is “unvain” implies that there was something unpretty in this… *coughs* And yeah, I don’t really think these pictures are attractive. But funny.

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      • I have disliked most of his recent pictures, but to me this is a new low. I don’t understand why anyone would think it was a good idea to photograph someone like this, or why any subject would release pictures of himself like this. I don’t like them either as representations of Armitage, or as photographs generally.

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        • Do you think he has full control of what gets released from each photo shoot? The photos belong to the photographer, no?

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          • I imagine it differs depending on the situation, when he signs the release, what powers a release gives him and the photographer. Presumably a photographed subject is going to have some idea of what sort of thing is being done, both ahead of time and as it’s happening. But that’s not really the issue here for me. To me this is totally superfluous both as a project and as an example of photos of Armitage. As photos of Armitage, I wish I could unsee them; as a photographic project, all I can do is shrug that anyone would spend time on this. Whatever.

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        • It seems to be a particular MO of Gotts. He has plenty of photo collages with grimacing celebs on his IG. I think what they all do is (attempt to) make the viewer laugh. If they are an expression of a serious photographic project, I can think of various fake artist’s statements for this stuff – some bla-bla meta along the lines of “actors who are known for their looks defying their image and trying to be as unattractive for the camera as possible” or “the camera never lies – or does it”. I’m sure that Gotts could easily find some spin to put on this series. And would always find a market and an audience. Pictures of celebrities always do.
          Those pics will not make it into my “favourite RA images” folder. They were good for a quick laugh, though.

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          • yeah, Gotts’ statement here is basically non-info. How anyone would claim that such contrived poses somehow represent a subject’s “real self” (or that a “real self” is represented in any picture more generally — that’s an almost embarrassingly uninformed statement) is beyond me. Photography always involves observance and that means we’re automatically at least one step away from “reality.” One thing his remarks do expose, though (in that they really illuminate the structure of such utterances), is the generally problematic nature of statements that Armitage’s “real self” is somehow especially nice. It may or may not be, but I think most people have a work persona. If Armitage’s is a pleasant or cooperative one, as many people have observed, that’s great, but I don’t think it’s evidence of anything more than that.

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            • I have to agree with you. I think “real self” is hardly ever possible in posed photography. The subject is conscious of being photographed – hence already self-curating the way he/she will be represented.
              Whenever I read the complimentary statements on Armitage, a little voice in my head says, “well, he is a consummate professional. He knows that theatre and film are collaborative enterprises, and therefore he behaves professionally towards everyone concerned.” I guess that’s what you call “work persona”. I always like to say that “he comes across as a nice guy”. Because that differs from saying “he *is* a nice guy”. I have no idea whether he is a nice guy. I’d like to think so. But without knowing him, it’s hard to tell…

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  4. These are the most loveliest unlovely pictures I’ve ever seen of him! I love when OTHERS who have met him or know him say such wonderful things. In a time when mostly what we’re hearing is scandalous and nasty behind the scenes, it’s nice to hear this one is wonderful

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    • LOL, unlovely is a very tactful way of putting it. Not sure about lovely, but I kind of like the way Armitage has played along. The question is – did he know that Gotts was going to publish these “finger exercises”?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, call me weird, but I like them. Oftentimes we put our crushes and whoever up on pedestals and we forget or ignore that they play, get weird, get crazy and fart like the rest of us. These beautifully unlovely pictures just prove that he has a character and personality of his own that ISN’t Sir Guy, or any of the Johns or Gary or Trevors… I think they’re beautiful in their own right. We’re seeing a side of him we normally don’t get to see.

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        • This is just another act, though. Maybe we like it more, maybe we like it less, but it’s not any more genuine than anything else he does.

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        • I see what you mean – although I think in order for me to really like these images, I would need to know more about their context. Even though he is seen as less than pretty here, I have questions whether these grimaces are RA’s own ideas, whether he knew the resulting pictures were going to be published, and what his general thought process was. Only then I could really decide whether this is “genuine” or simply another role he has played – only in front of a stills camera.

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          • See, growing up, my brothers made faces at the camera. For years. I don’t think we have a picture from 1970 to 198 0 of either of them NOT making faces at the camera.

            Spawn went through that phase too. I don’t think he KNEW how to smile.

            When I was married, my now ex husband had 2 photo albums of him and his brother growing up, as well as pictures of his parents wedding and grand parents and such. I wish we had the technology now back then, so I could have saved these for my son. Either way, from the time his brother was 7 to about 13, EVERY picture was a ‘strongman’ picture. Flexing the ‘muscles’ and a grimace.

            I look back at extended family, all of my mom’s brothers – she had 8 – and at a specific age, they make faces rather than smile. Oooh look at me.

            And I guess that’s how I’m looking at it. Don’t mind me. Waxing poetic. lol!

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            • Oh, I am well familiar with the “faces at the camera” thing. My son used to do that for a few years, and it drove me mad. It’s all well and fun in a few pictures, but sometimes it is also nice when people just look friendly and “normal”.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I take your point about his lack of vanity, and it is nice to see a range expressions, such as the debauched roué, but I’m with Servetus and I don’t ever want to see these images again – except perhaps the last one.
    I do like the Admirable Armitage though, and Gott;s comment. Your 60s-vibe photos on the other hand are fabulous.

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    • Yeah, I am not too pushed about the pictures, too. I think they are a funny once-off. Not more and not less. They are certainly not the sort of thing that gets my heart to pound.

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  6. Si les professeurs s’adonnent à des exercices d’expression orale (intonation, articulation, débit vocal…)
    – si les chanteurs s’adonnent à des exercices de vocalises, de respiration,…
    – si les danseurs s’adonnent à des exercices d’expression corporelle (déplacements, mouvements,…),
    – on peut-être sûr que les acteurs s’adonnent à des exercices d’expression faciale. Pas moins de soixante muscles les aideront à exprimer leurs émotions. Parmi eux, je ne garderai que les zygomatiques: les muscles du rire. Homage à un grand monsieur du rire:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-VWehadoYk Raymond Devos “Le rire primitif”| Archive INA

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  7. Hahahaha! Bottom left is the kind of expression I see in my mirror, first thing in the morning.

    Loved to see those photos of your kids horsing around. Such joyful shots.

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    • Hahaha – well, I was saying on Twitter, that picture 4 is the face I make when I am on social media 😬
      Once let loose, the kids had great fun with that shoot. I like those pictures better than the “formal” sibling shots I took during the same session. (But they were intended for my mum – who likes them very much.)

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  8. Whether deliberate or not, every image of him in public is an image for a casting director to find. I predict the shots in the upper left and lower right corners get him his next two roles: a shiftless drunk and a creepy scary guy. Casting director Q: With that gorgeous head of hair, how can this handsome man ever look ugly-scary? A: Lower right, there you have it.

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  9. The sculptures of Franz Xaver Messerschmitt come to mind… especially since the lighting gives the photographs a strange plasticity. I’m curious for the “real” photos of that shoot!

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    • I had to look up Messerschmitt – and wow!!! Thanks for pointing it out, Anja. The sculptures are amazing, and especially so as they were made at a time of highly stylised art and aesthetics. Interesting that he made these sculptures during the Rococo age. They are fascinating. And you are dead on – this photo series by Gotts is very similar to the Messerschmitt sculptures. What a great connection to make. Thanks for sharing that!
      PS: Yep, I also look forward to seeing the other shots. I liked the one he already posted.

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      • re the timeframe of the work: yeah totally! I think if you took a “Charakterkopf” sculpture by Messerschmitt and told people that it was a 3D-print by banksy to hijack a space in a museum gallery I guess a lot of people who hadn’t seen them previously would believe it 😉 that’s why I’m such a mueseum-nerd!

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  10. Black and white photography tick, #romanticherohairdo tick, but good grief, I wish I could unsee the lower left photo – eyebally stuff like that makes me shudder!
    The other three, fun to see, and I love goofy Armitage, but the collage isn’t something I’d be wanting to look at repeatedly. Gotts’ accompanying text on the other hand, I’ve always loved to hear or read what his co-stars, co-workers etc think of Richard.
    The photos of your children are great. Some of the best fun photos I have of family and friends are those taken in a photo booth I’d hired for a birthday party for my husband.

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    • They eyeball photo to me was also the worst of the lot. My own eyes start itching when I see burst vessels or bloodshot eyes on others *shudders*.
      Yeah, this is fun to see once – and off it goes into the poison cabinet 😂.
      I love the idea of a photo booth. Was that one of those “passport photo” type of booths or what kind of photos did it create?

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      • Passport type photos, so only small ones, although I think I can print off larger ones from the CD we were given (I must check back on that!) The booth came with props. Each time photos were taken (in strips of 3) one strip was given to the participants and a second was added to an album for a keepsake. It was one of those great ideas I wish I could come up with more frequently lol! literally came to me in the middle of the night, planning hubby’s 60th, and I was lucky to find a local business when I did an online search. It was a real hit with everybody.

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      • The eyeball one is the most horrible one . I actually don’t mind the second one now, an expression we have seen before, now I’ve gone back on my vow and had a second peek. I also like the halo behind is head and the graininess of the b&w.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. The phrase ‘ before the chosen photos are worked on’ makes me shudder just how much touching up is necessary!
    I think if I ever have need of the real Richard Armitage I shall refer back to his lockdown down selfie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *giggles* Ah now, Yve, I don’t really think photoshop could actually rescue these images. You’d have to replace the whole facial expression to make these attractive as such. But I guess that wasn’t the point of these pictures, anyway. They are “warts and all” and I suspect they are meant to completely invert the usual way of seeing/photographing.
      But otherwise, on the subject of photoshop: I don’t really think there is that much work in it. Filters to smooth out lines, making the eyes look sparklier, whitening teeth, a bit of Gaussian blur on the background, and the clone tool to delete irregular spots here and there.

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  12. Odd pics. So I lurkered around Gott’s IG account: all his models make faces, at least the botox-free ones. I lovee the way every wrinkle is enhanced, a 3D look very interesting. Love RA neck in this pics, the muscles under the skin, but they are not fangirl stuff.

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    • Yep, it is apparently one of Gotts’ little side projects, getting his subjects to make faces. It’s oddly fascinating, even if not particularly aesthetic. As Anja pointed out in a comment, the images are reminiscent of the sculptures by 18th century artist Messerschmitt.
      Hehe, yes, those neck muscles are not the typical fangirl material. The only thing I really liked about those pictures was RA’s apparent willingness to be photographed thus.

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