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Fashion Polaroids Marry High-Concept Couture and Cinematic Imagery

Fashion photographer Miles Aldridge’s preparatory Polaroids are the subject of their own exhibit and book.

Gabrielle Bruney

All images courtesy of the artist and Lyndsey Ingram gallery

Just as ink or pencil sketches can serve as stepping stones towards a complete painting or sculpture, Polaroid photos serve as interstitial artworks for film photographers. The practice became less popular with the advent of digital photography, but acclaimed fashion photographer Miles Aldridge still uses film and takes Polaroids to document his shoots. These Polaroids, which combine the cinematic romance of Super 8 with the high-fashion concepts of glossy mags, recently went on display at London’s Lyndsey Ingram gallery.

"At the end of the shoot, a set of  Polaroids with notes to my lab would be included with the shot film with the instruction 'Please Return Polaroid,’” says Aldridge. It’s from this instruction that the exhibit Please Return Polaroid, as well as a new book collecting these photo sketches, take their names.

Aldridge’s career as a fashion photographer took off in the early 90s, before digital photography ruled the day and when Polaroid sketches were a feature of most photo shoots. Trained as an illustrator, Aldridge also worked as a director creating music videos for bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain before transitioning into photography. The Polaroids collected in the exhibit demonstrate Aldridge’s medium-spanning versatility, capturing the kinetic potential of movies and the cramped, spare framing that’s more commonly found in illustration than page-spanning fashion spreads.

"Our Please Return Polaroid exhibition gives an intimate insight into Aldridge’s working practice, which has never been seen before," Lyndsey Graham tells The Creators Project. "The selection of Polaroids we chose for the show, about 100 in total, span over ten years of his career and relate to many of his most import and well know images. Each in their own way, these are all unique, spontaneous, and hauntingly beautiful images."

Get an eyeful below:

The exhibit will be published as a book collecting Aldridge’s Polaroid photography through time, for more information click here.

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