Art of Style: Photographer Miles Fortune
In our newest Art of Style series, Shop Talk contributor Lauren Gallow examines the sartorial leanings, style influences, and fashion favorites of the Seattle arts community. See more of Gallow’s work on her website, Desert Jewels.
@Miles fortune. When I first saw this Instagram handle, it didn’t occur to me that it was the real name of a real human in my real city. So when I ran into the elusive Miles Fortune at Analog Coffee wearing his trademark Illesteva sunglasses, I was somewhat starstruck to find that he was indeed there, in the IRL flesh.
We formed a fast friendship over a mutual love for art, television, and all things dogs. Today our meetups aren’t complete unless we’re leaning over an iPhone, chuckling at awkward puppy photos from Fortune’s expansive Tumblr feed. Yet, the reason I knew of Miles Fortune was because I’d seen his photography, work he’d done for Glasswing and Jack Straw (and several Seattle Met shots). Photography defined by directness, structure, a dark and quiet formalism.
“Actually, it’s sloppy formalism.” That’s how Fortune defined it when I asked about his current style. “I love the intimacy of films and television shows, mainly British, set in the 1950s and ’60s. Shows like The Hour. I’m very inspired by Cold War–era fashion. It’s so refined, so dark and dry, yet still sort of sloppy.”
But, it’s actually hard to imagine Fortune doing anything sloppy. His work evokes a kind of seriousness, a melancholy that he attributes to his Scandinavian heritage. “My mother is of Swedish descent, and my father Icelandic. I’ve recently tried to tap into this heritage—who I am and where I’m from is more of an interest to me now than ever before.”
This newfound interest was perhaps inspired by his recent travels in the Southwest. “Doing the all-American thing was hard for me,” Fortune admitted when I asked about that work. “But, at the same time, I like the appropriation of that—of trying to do something super American as someone who doesn’t feel that way personally at all.”
“I want my photography to tell a story, to be a document of an experience, rather than just an image,” Fortune told me. “I want to do what feels closer to me, I want to slow down and be careful about what I make. I want to be doing work from the heart.”