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Miles Aldridge
Miles Aldridge

Miles Aldridge

Country: United KIngdom
Birth: 1964

Miles Aldridge rose to prominence in the mid-nineties with his arresting, highly stylised photographs with references to film noir, art history and pop culture. An acclaimed colourist, he renders elaborate mise-en-scènes in a palette of vibrant acidic hues. These glamorous, frequently eroticised images probe society's idealised notions of domestic bliss where sinister undercurrents swirl beneath a flawless surface. Aldridge has worked prolifically for more than twenty-five years, and today he remains one of the few photographers still shooting predominately on film. His creative output encompasses large-scale c-type prints, Polaroids, screenprints, photogravures and drawings.

Born in London in 1964, the son of famed art director and illustrator Alan Aldridge, his interest in photography began at an early age when he was given a Nikon F camera by his father. He went on to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins, graduating with a BA in 1987. Aldridge initially worked as an illustrator and music video director, before turning his attention to photography. In 1996 he began working with Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, and their boundary-pushing collaboration would continue for twenty years. In addition to the many international editions of Vogue, Aldridge's images have featured regularly in prestigious titles including Harper's Bazaar, Numéro, W, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker.

Aldridge develops each new photographic narrative by rendering his initial thoughts in ink or pencil sketches with washes of watercolour and pastel. These drawings and storyboards are an essential early stage in his creative process. He believes that 'fiction and theatricality can be more truthful than documenting reality' and translates his sketches into meticulously arranged compositions to create images reminiscent of film stills: frames snatched from a broader story. Aldridge notes that many of his favourite moments in cinema are, as he describes, "closeups of a woman's face thinking", and he shares Hitchcock's ability to create powerful moments of suspense, turning viewers into voyeurs. In Aldridge's Chromo Thriller (2012) there is a palpable resonance with David Lynch's neo-noir mystery Blue Velvet, where immaculate façades hide darkly strange stories. As one author has noted: "Aldridge's female protagonists recall the glamour and splendour of Isabella Rossellini's character whilst at the same time remaining suggestive of something more sinister."

Only rarely does he allow the real world to encroach upon the imagined realm. Through his lens, even reality appears artificial. In the series Capital Gains (2007) and Open Tour (2008) the cities of Washington DC and Paris look cleaner and sleeker than ever before. In The Last Range of Colours (2007), a lone figure in a children's playground evokes both the Technicolor splendour of The Wizard of Oz and the haunting dreamscape of a Giorgio de Chirico painting.

A recurring theme throughout Aldridge's oeuvre is the false promise of luxury. Psychedelic interiors are furnished with the trappings of mid-century suburban comfort: gleaming kitchen appliances, candy-coloured telephones and well-groomed pets denote success. The work conflates historic and modern motifs and makes subtle reference to the art historical canon. The project Immaculée (2007) points to Catholic depictions of female saints in ecstasy, whilst his portraits of Lily Cole (2005) and Maisie Williams (2017) draw inspiration from Northern Renaissance masters such as Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein. Pop Art tropes feature predominantly: Coca-Cola logos (3D, 2010; A Family Portrait #14, 2011), soup cans and tomato ketchup bottles (A Drop of Red #2, 2001; First Impressions, 2006) all form a striking part of his visual lexicon.

His fascination with art history led Aldridge to undertake projects with several significant contemporary artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George and Harland Miller. For the project (after Cattelan) (2016), he was invited by Cattelan to respond to the Italian artist's exhibition, Not Afraid of Love, in the grand neoclassical rooms of the Monnaie de Paris. The resulting series of c-type photographs depicts statuesque nudes dominating Cattelan's hyperreal sculptures in a series of absurdist tableaux. A second series, titled Love Always and Love All Ways after Gilbert & George (2016), was made with the British duo at their London townhouse. Drawing on the conventions of Victorian melodrama, Aldridge devised a series centred around the story of an enigmatic young visitor staying at the house for the weekend. In a further nod to Victoriana, the images were printed using the nineteenth-century photogravure process, whereby an etched copper plate produces highly detailed intaglio prints. The monotone prints were augmented with blocks of bold colour and hand-painted details to create a contemporary aesthetic.

His most recent collaboration was with Harland Miller, known for his paintings of imaginary book covers that were partly inspired by Alan Aldridge's 1960s designs for Penguin paperbacks. In a satisfying symmetry, Aldridge transformed Miller's paintings into real books, used as props in his photoshoot. The resulting screenprints evoke the grainy colour supplements of Aldridge's youth and were published by Poligrafa, Barcelona's renowned fine art publisher, who launched them at the 2017 edition of Art Basel Miami Beach. Poligrafa went on to publish the subsequent screenprint series New Utopias, which they exhibited at the 2018 edition of Art Basel. Most recently, Tan Lines, one of Aldridge's largest screenprints to date, was unveiled by Poligrafa at the 2019 edition of The Armory Show, New York.

Aldridge's major museum exhibitions include his upcoming retrospective Virgin Mary. Supermarkets. Popcorn. Photographs 1999 - 2020 at Fotografiska, New York, which opened 7th May 2021 having first appeared at Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm (2020-2021), solo shows at The Lumiere Brothers Photography Centre, Moscow (2019) and OCA, São Paulo (2015) and I Only Want You to Love Me at Somerset House, London (2013). In 2014, he was commissioned by Tate Britain to create a photographic installation in response to Mark Gertler's 1916 painting Merry-Go-Round. London's National Portrait Gallery houses a large collection of Aldridge's portraits and his work is held in prestigious museums and institutions around the world including the Victoria and Albert Museum and British Museum in London, the Fondation Carmignac and the Palais Galliera in Paris, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Massachusetts and the International Center of Photography in New York. -- Susanna Brown Curator of Photography Victoria and Albert Museum

Source: milesaldridge.com


 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Mitch Rouse
United States
1940
Mitch was a transportation entrepreneur in Long Beach, and is now a photographer based out of Cody, Wyoming. Before Mitch shot aerial images, he was an avid self-taught landscape photographer. In the realm of aerial photography, he began with with high tech drones and evolved into flying fixed wing. Unsatisfied with the limitations of these methods, he has now found the sweet spot between the two, by developing a system that incorporates a Bell helicopter with a 150 MP Phase One Industrial camera, inside a Shot Over gimbal, mounted to its nose. Mitch most enjoys shooting abstract land patterns and beautiful farmlands throughout the western states. He is also interested in industrial sites including agriculture, transportation, shipping, ports, solar power, wind power, oil and gas. His current projects include Los Angeles - Long Beach Harbor, piers of California, highway interchanges, oil and gas fields in the Central Valley of California, agriculture in the Central Valley of California, and agriculture in the Palouse region Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Top Views of The Palouse Symmetrical farmscapes and the asymmetrical patterns of natural landscapes have always been intriguing to Mitch Rouse, a photographer based out of Cody, Wyoming. Over the last four years, his passion for landscape photography and his deep desire to capture a unique perspective, evolved into taking to the skies with the right technology to capture those exclusive scenes from above. The Palouse in SE Washington is one of his favourite places to explore. Due to its geological heritage, the rolling hills of grasses are an endless sea. Farmland is scattered over this peculiar dune-like landscape, which formed sometime during the last several ice ages, when glacial silt was blown across the region forming dunes called "loess". The farmers who settled on this land had to develop methods of successful harvesting, where to avoid the steep slopes becoming hazardous to their tractors and combines, they would plough along the contours of the hills, this led to the use of special self-levelling harvesters that can cut crops safely and efficiently by constantly adjusting to the different gradients of the slopes. As you can imagine, the lines and patterns that these farming techniques produce, combined with the already picturesque landscape, are captivating from the air. These aerial photographs of The Palouse captured by Mitch, resemble topographical maps where the colour contrasts, line patterns and contour shapes have become a distinctive form of art. Two seasons in The Palouse are equally magnificent in their colours and textures. Mitch enjoys capturing both the vibrant green silky grass seas of Springtime, and the golden brown rough textures of the Harvest. The most appealing thing about photographing The Palouse is this combination of classic features of farmland, spread across this canvas of ‘dunes', resulting in truly mesmerising endless lines in both linear, and in curved patterns, with the play of the light across those textures and gradients, creating shadows and variations in the colour spectrums of the greens and yellows or of the browns and the golds. The aerial perspective gives these abstract art forms a boldness that cannot be fully appreciated from the ground. Mitch's favourite lens to use is a 35mm. This is due to its versatility with 100mp resolution, he can crop in with fantastic detail, or leave it at a wide angle. We think you'll agree that these resulting shots are really stunning and showcase this truly individual area of American geography.
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