The man fought the annoying self-consciousness while the photographer reset up his gear quickly. As the assistant pointed the lights at the huge shiny steel door, the man presumed that was his mark. He strode across the black marble floor and stood. Giving his arms a slight shake, he tried to relax. He thought he ought to appreciate the richness of the dark blue suit and crisp black shirt. They screamed expensive and felt it too. But mostly he felt like a dressed up doll in a stiff frock, scared to put a crease in anything, and very self-conscious.

His agent had setup this personal photo shoot, stating his new image overhaul required the expertise of a renowned photographer. The man knew nothing about photography but if the amount of high tech gear and number of assistants signified the best, then this man was one of them. Assistants turned the klieg and box lights in his direction. The man squinted. He never enjoyed taking pictures at any time. It was alright for PR productions; he could inhabit a character and forget the cameras. But for these personal photo shoots, it was an endurance test. He simply wasn’t a person to put himself forward in personal photos. Some of the past photographers had simply pointed a lens and expected him to do something. He never understood what they wanted him to reveal in a glance. He was just – him. They would call out directions: “smile,” “turn your head this way,” “smoulder,” and he would go through the motions not knowing if he gave them what they wanted or if the whole thing resulted in a disaster. They’d never said it was a disaster naturally, but a cursory glance at his flat doll figure in the stills told him the story. No, he wasn’t a fan of these photo shoots. How long was it anyway?

He shifted awkwardly, feeling suddenly the weight of his arms and hands. His hands- he never knew what to so with his hands. The hot lights beat down. A droplet slid between his shoulder blades. Oh please don’t let him sweat these posh duds, thought the man. Give some direction, anything to take my mind off this thing. He caught the eye of the photographer who cocked his head and picked up a digital camera with a long tether to a laptop.

The photographer stood and regarded him. “That’s a good spot. Stay there.”

The man nodded, happy for any direction.

The photographer continued to regard him, a quizzical crease in his brow. “Look, let’s try something different. Think about a scenario: you’re at a friend’s party standing with a group of people. A woman you’ve seen but never met is across the room. Your nemesis approaches her. Show me how you feel.”

The man blinked. A scenario – yes, he could do scenarios.

As he visualized, the lights and cameras and gear faded away. He heard music, laughter and bustle of conversation around him. He smiled at a sad joke before catching sight of her. She was here, across the room. She looked ravishing in a dark frock, matching her swept back hair. Her hesitant glances around the room told him that she didn’t know many people here. Her eyes alighted on him and flittered away. Maybe he should go introduce himself. Her eyes flickered back. No, wait he shouldn’t seem too over-eager, like a wolf pouncing on the first lamb in the door. He should be casual like, yeah. Sliding his left hand into the pocket of his trousers and crossing one foot over the other, he casually leaned back against the wall. Her eyes moved back and watched him. He lifted his chin and smiled charmingly. Shall I come over?

Suddenly a real wolf loomed at her elbow. The man knew the actor. He was a douchebag and unprofessional to boot. The woman smiled up at the actor and kissed his cheek. Oh, she knew him! The actor seemed a bit touchy feely, lightly caressing her arm, her elbow. The man felt conflicted, torn between staying put or trying to claim the ravishing woman and getting rid of the tosser pawing her. He glowered. He smouldered.

“Fabulous,” whispered the photographer.


[Thanks to Guylty for the inspiration here.]


23 thoughts on “Portraiture

  1. THIS! Judiang! Is simply brilliant. I love how you transport yourself into “the man’s” brain and mind and decribe a scenario. This is how it could be. It fits the impression I have of “the man”, his reticence, his modesty, his occasional bouts of self-consciousness. Probably very easy to work with as a director – self-sufficient, pro-active, opinionated (in a good way), inventive. Possibly not quite so easy to work with as a photographer. The little story you have written for his character scenario is great! So believable! Love it. You’ve also captured the studio atmosphere and the photographer’s conduct really well, too. Bravo!
    Gosh, we should do this more often – I pick a picture, you have to invent “the man’s” imagined backstory. (Me getting the easy part, *hehe*) Thanks for the credit! *blushes*

    • See, you can’t say I don’t read your posts carefully. I hoped I caught the bustle of a photo shoot, so that’s good to hear. Hey, I’ll take inspiration in way I can get it. I’d just read your post featuring one of my fave Ashcrofts and wondered what would The Man think? I’d love to do a backstory for your pictures if the mood grabs me. I’m supposed to be writing in the mornings (call me Ms. Procrastination), and the idea piques my interest. 🙂

      • Inspiration works all kinds of ways 🙂 But it is, I must say self-praisingly, particularly gratifying to find oneself deemed a source of inspiration. (Is this what it feels like to be he who is known as “The Man” and who inspires so many who are known as “The Fans” to write and create??? If so, I could get used to it ;-))
        No pressure, Judi. I was totally pushing it with my suggestion, being very aware that I have the easy part in that. Creativity is hard work, but if it happens again, please let me know. I want to be able to read and credit it! Actually – you can also let me know your favourite photo of “The Man” and I’ll *ooof* it for you!

  2. Pingback: *ooof*: Smug Armitage at a Party | Me + Richard Armitage

    • Great, these are meant to be brief snippets in the life/mind of The Man. Glad that coming across. RA who? Whatever do you mean. ;D

  3. Pingback: *ooof*: Smug Armitage at a Party | Armitage Agonistes

  4. Wow Judi, now we have an idea what makes the Man tick. Quite a brisk, yet convincing story you came up with. Like it a lot! 😀

  5. You are a wonderful double act Judiang and Guylty.

    I love that you have created a highly plausible tale of the inner workings of RA’s mind, Judiang, and i will always think of it when i see this picture.

    Thank you.

  6. I always enjoy it when you imagine what it might be like to get inside “the man’s” head. Kind of like that movie: Being John Malcovitz, but of course much more exciting!

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