Introduction by Marilyn Manson
Miles Aldridge is a peeping tom that has been mistaken for a ‘fashion photographer.’ A camera does not truly seem to be an important consideration for anyone that wishes to contemplate his work. Undoubtedly, he is a master of this medium that we have come here to examine. That is not, however, a reason for one to assume or even have the arrogance to define his work as simply ‘photography’, much less ‘fashion.’ What he does is easily both of these things, which are by no means without merit. Compared to his contemporaries, in regards to technique, style and sheer awe-inspiring beauty, he stands with as much solid, defined originality that the ad campaigns or editorial pages of a genre, filled with many self-proclaimed ‘artists,’ can afford.
The first thing that proves this point and is quite obvious when looking through The Cabinet, is that Miles Aldridge is a director at heart. His images are anything but ‘portraits’ of a subject. They are his actors, his actresses. There is a certainty in his mise-en-scènes, that has drama, tension, panic and tragic desire. Each photograph has a very sacred pathology to every angle and obsession to detail. There is genius in the very deliberate blankness on the face of his models that enables a transference of identity. He always draws you into an arrested fetish that seems as forbidden as a little girl’s diary. You are privileged to stumble upon some post-aggression enigma. He does not impose his own perversions here. He enables the world that opens to be more than just a result of his imagination. He causes the fundamentals of storytelling to be blurred, which transforms the ‘subject’ and the ‘spectator’ into the creator.
However, what takes his work into a subversive, cinematic realm is the true alchemy that exists in these stolen intrusions. His camera-eye lets you in, so you can cut yourself a flap in the wallpaper. You drill a tiny peephole with some hotel corkscrew. The sounds are as dirty as the scent. It’s the things you like to have spoken to you and the way you want your lover to smell but are too afraid to admit this to anyone.
He moves in Hitchcock and Bergman strides. He paints stories like a coloring book made from equal parts Nabokov, Bataille, Bunuel, Fassbinder and George Hurrell. There are only names like Man Ray or Breton that can serve as any measure for me to place Miles Aldridge on any artistic barometer.
It is technicolor horror, pin-down glamorbidity, pornografear and what I find best described as para-noir.
In his shadow of fleeting vice, you will find yourself guilty every time.
Marilyn Manson, Los Angeles 2006.