Thursday, July 10, 2014

This Is Not An *OOOF*

Not stealing Guylty's schtick here but the new Francesco Guidicini shots hit me really hard this morning and it reminded me of another photo that hit me hard once upon a time.

One of my very favorite photos of anyone ever is on the cover of 1989's In Step, the last studio album recorded by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. Photographer Alan Messer talks about that spine-tingling session here (a huge THANK YOU to Obscura for that great find!), including the moment both he and Vaughan knew they had their cover.


What I love about this photo is everything. I love that you can tell who it is just from the hat, I love that the only part of him you can really see clearly is his hands, I love that he's doing something instead of looking at the camera and always suspected he was really playing instead of just posing (go read the link, you will not be disappointed). A lot of what resonates for me in this image, though, comes from knowing his story: In Step was his first album after rehab. He exorcized his demons and came through on the other side with a more powerful flow. This isn't an addict on his knees here; this is the greatest guitar player on the planet at that moment crouched down lovingly playing his instrument because he just can't resist the spirit when it moves him.

While none of the individual shots of Armitage has quite that effect on me, the collection as a whole does. He looks like he's gained something -- confidence, maybe, as a friend suggested this morning -- or learned something about himself. I'm not suggesting that he's gone to rehab but there's something about him that's more sure and more powerful. He looks more at home in his own skin than I've ever seen him, even in the more undignified poses. This one (I know I'm breaking up the flow here but go on and click it) is my favorite. He's not looking at the camera but he's not hiding his face and like there would be any mistaking that profile, right? Don't you wonder what he's thinking about? He still looks like a force to be reckoned with slumped over in a tiny chair, like a Marine in uniform at his little sister's tea party. Whatever he's been doing that brought this change about? He needs to keep doing it.

So, what do you think of the new pictures? What's your favorite? Comments are open. Stevie Ray Vaughan is going to take us out, just because.

19 comments:

  1. Well I'm still waiting to be allowed to enlarge the photos. Richard looks great but those are the ugliest pants I've ever seen. I know it is probably just me and those pants are probably really popular but the color sucks.

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    1. LOL, I like the pants though I'm not crazy about the color. I wonder if he rides?

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    2. I have wondered if he rides also (I ride myself). Hard to tell if he was riding it or faking it on George Gently. If he does ride (those boots would be good for riding, too) it would let him get around unrecognized with the helmet on and all. (Heather)

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    3. I think Benedict Cumberbatch rides, or he did for a long time. I remember seeing a stage door video of him holding a helmet.

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  2. I love Stevie Ray. My husband plays some of his stuff, love it. I get what you're saying about the new RA photos. Can't say I like the one where he is laying down (I wonder if he has say over what photos are allowed to be published, just wondering). I think the ones on the little red chair are favourites...they really show his size. Also the one on the gray couch where he very confidently shows off those green motorcycle pants. Definitely confident in these. A little frightening even, very much projecting the persona of his new character. The mood of these photos do seem to reflect the interview that accompanied it?? (Heather)

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    1. It would be interesting to know which order the photo session and the interview were in, wouldn't it? Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting!

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  3. Pants are O.K (wish they were leather- on the other hand he is too old for leather pants, now...he he ) but boots are sensational IMO.
    I like this blasé bearded man on the couch... He really knows what he is selling! ;) :D

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    1. He has great taste in bootage. Booty? I should stop before I get in trouble. :)

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    2. totally with you on the boots.

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    3. You like the booty, too? ;)

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    4. I refuse to answer on the grounds that the answer may tend to incriminate me.

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  4. *ggg* I have no copyright on picture analysis, Jazzbaby ;-). Glad to read your thoughts here. I am *ooof*ing as we speak, and I found your post because I was researching something in context with the Guidicini shoot :-D. It's all a bit incestuous, this whole RA blogging thing ;-)

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    1. I can't wait to see your *ooof*ing, Guylty!

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  5. I'm finding the ones of him in the doorway particularly thrilling. how his height,might and majesty seem to be ready to burst out of the confining space. and the thumbs...

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  6. Even as ridiculous as the shot is of him laying down he somehow manages to make it better :) Tree

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    1. Dude! Thanks for commenting! What did you do differently this time?

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    2. I commented as anonymous. When I use my name or log into my accounts it never works. What I'd like to know is how the other commenters can do it using their name. Servetus, Guylty, kelbel75, anyone? I see a couiple of other people have the same problem. Thanks for the anonymous idea Heather!

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Thanks for commenting!