A chanteuse removes her show face backstage. But is the smudged pink of her make-up symbolic of a sticky, sweet innocence – or is there something more violent about the mark smeared across her face?
"There is an idea of attraction and revulsion being experienced simultaneously, as the stain of a revolting kiss is wiped away," says the image's photographer, Miles Aldridge, who reveals that the inspiration for the shot was the sense of disgust imparted in the words of Isabella Rossellini's character in the film Blue Velvet, "You put your disease in me. It helps me. It makes me strong."
Aldridge's use of saturated colour gives a real sense of drama to this closing image from his 2006 series on cabaret – a drama amped up by his preference for shooting on film, a medium he cherishes for its inherent link to the silver screen and the glorious Technicolor of old musicals.
As one of the fashion industry's foremost photographers, his highly stylised, acid-washed work has appeared in publications including Vogue Italia, while in 2009 Steidl published his book Pictures for Photographs, which included not only his photography but also the sketches he uses to plan his shoots – pieces of no little beauty themselves, since he trained as an illustrator at St Martins.
For more, see milesaldridge.com.