Thursday, 12 September 2013

Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me at Somerset House

Once again I’ve been at Somerset House checking out another highly recommended exhibition: Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me. This major retrospective is the largest exhibition to date of the renowned fashion photographer’s work, and will be at the Embankment East Galleries until 29 September.

A Drop Of Red  #2 © Miles Aldridge 2001

Son of graphic designer Alan Aldridge, Miles travelled to New York in the mid-nineties and was soon shooting for publications such as W, Teen Vogue, GQ and The Face. He has established an enduring relationship with Vogue Italia and shot advertising campaigns for many of fashion’s biggest names, including Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

Miles’ images appeal to me for very similar reasons to Tim Walker’s  – he has an incredibly distinctive style, and he treats his shoots in a highly cinematic way, often story-boarding them beforehand and never compromising his creativity for commercial gain.

I Only Want You To Love Me  #1 © Miles Aldridge 2011

Miles’ work is immediately identifiable through his use of colour and depiction of women. His images are bold and bright, filled with high octane glamour and incredible beauty, but the often blank looks on the models’ faces or the slightly uneasy situations they find themselves in, suggest something a little darker beneath the surface. For example a beautiful woman’s face resting on a pillow would be serene if it weren’t for the mysterious hand that holds it there.

This slightly uncomfortable, darker aesthetic is unsurprising considering Miles cites filmmakers such as David Lynch and Federico Fellini as influences. His ability to produce something so detailed and theatrical may also be testament to his background in illustration, which he studied at Central St Martins, and a brief stint directing music videos.

Actress  #6 © Miles Aldridge 2012

His photographs are glamorous, captivating and in glorious technicolour, from the woman on a kitchen floor poised emotionless behind a dropped dinner tray and smashed plates, to the ‘actress’ in bed, apparently having a diva tantrum over a grapefruit. In both instances the uneasy subject matter is depicted with extraordinary skill and an incredible use of colour. This is the reason I was particularly excited about the exhibition, because although Miles’ work looks phenomenal on the pages of Vogue Italia (copies of which are included in the exhibition), to see large-scale prints displayed in Somerset House’s typically understated yet effective way is a real treat.

There is something mesmerising about Miles’ photographs – that dreamlike quality and cinematic aesthetic – you just want to reach out and touch them. They draw you into an enviable world of glamour that seems distinctly unattainable, before throwing you sideways when you realise that behind the smoke and mirrors, as in every walk of life, beauty is very rarely what it seems.
The Pure Wonder  © Miles Aldridge 2005

Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me is at the Embankment East Galleries, Somerset House until 29 September. Admission is £6. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same name, published by Rizzoli and available at the exhibition.

A simultaneous exhibition at Brancolini Grimaldi, features Miles Aldridge's first exhibition, Short Breaths, alongside recent work and a new limited edition portfolio. For more information visit

No comments

Post a Comment

© Rock & Runway

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig