“Miles Aldridge”, says David Lynch, “sees a colour-coordinated, graphically pure, hard-edged reality”.
Marilyn Manson has described the London-born photographer as “a director at heart. His images are anything but portraits of a subject. They are his actors, his actresses…
“There is genius in the very deliberate blankness on the face of the models that enables a transference of identity”, continues the Antichrist Superstar singer. “He always draws you into an arrested fetish that seems as forbidden as a little girl’s diary…”
If you say so, Mazza. Without doubt Aldridge’s acclaimed photographs are stylish, sophisticated and subversive. His graphic designer father Alan was an influence, as later were fashion photographer Richard Avedon and Fellini.
As a child, Aldridge met family friends such as John Lennon and Elton John – his father designed album sleeves for The Who and Elton, but Aldridge says: “We weren’t moneyed. My father was terrible with money.”
His two sisters were models. After studying illustration at Central St Martins, he directed pop videos for three years for the likes of The Charlatans before landing his break as a fashion photographer with Vogue via his then-girlfriend. He’s since shot for Armani, Yves St Laurent and Lagerfeld.
The art world has embraced his images, with exhibitions worldwide including a major 2010 retrospective at London’s Somerset House titled I Only Want You To Love Me. “Women and colour are Aldridge’s twin obsessions”, ran the gallery’s pitch. “His work is filled with glamorous, beautiful women, from dazed housewives and decadent beauties to sunbathing sexpots and ecstatic virgins. Luscious colours dazzle from every image…”
Aldridge’s pictures of Jarvis Cocker and Lily Cole are in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. He was married to American model Kristen McMenamy – Juergen Teller’s muse – for 16 years until 2013. (Naomi Campbell was a bridesmaid). The couple have two sons.
Aldridge’s advertising work for MAC cosmetics resulted in the book Miles of MAC. Here are just some of the striking images from it.
Loaded freelance reporter Chris Roberts has written extensively about music, film, literature and TV. He is also the author of around a dozen books.