After meeting Alan Aldridge – the famous Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Artist whilst working at Portobello hotel in June 2013, we were on speaking terms, calling each other Alan and Katie. I found out a little about Alan’s life and family and learnt that he had a very influential and talented family including photographers and models and a son-in-law being Caleb Followill from the American rock band, Kings of Leon. I discovered that Alan’s son, Miles Aldridge is a photographer and had an upcoming exhibition at Somerset House. This was really exciting news – having being so influenced by Alan, I wanted to see the exhibition.
Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me displays conceptual photographs of glamorous, beautiful women with perfect appearances yet unsettled by the bold colour saturation and emotional atmosphere of the scenes they are in. Their blank expressions are interpreted as trivial whilst contemplating their inner selves. A tension underlines his photography along with the beauty, high fashion, desperate hopelessness, vapid consumerism and societal views of human conditions and the complexity behind it – I think this is how he wanted women to be perceived in all its honesty.
The series is the largest retrospective of the acclaimed photographer’s work that’s widely known within the fashion industry. Miles began making pop videos in the 1990’s after his student period in the 1980’s studying Illustration at Central Saint Martin’s. His creative influences include film directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, artists such as Lucas Cranach, Edward Hopper, Warhol, photographer Richard Avedon and the psychedelic graphic design of his father, Alan Aldridge.
I was really trying to understand how his photography transcended to his real life and experiences. After getting to know Alan Aldridge, I started to understand the cross over between the theme of Mile’s work and his obsession with women and colour. He plays close attention to the role of women and mothers, yet in a rebellious way. I think he specifically chose models that have similar features to his mother – dark hair, big eyes and a feminine yet defined jaw line.
I wasn’t able to take photographs at the exhibtion, but I was really interested to see his personal drawings and sketches which are testament to his love of experimenting with free hand illustration. They showed his thought process using fine liner, pencil and coloured felt tip pens which transpired onto paper, sketchbooks or paper he collected in Hotels in Europe along with annotations. His ideas are crystallised into these carefree drawings.