One of my favourite photographers, Slim Aarons, captured the leisure pursuits of the rich and famous at play in stunning environments, letting the natural beauty of his subjects become his focal point. His photographs offer a glimpse into the lives of the American jet-setters in the post-war era.
Socialite Alice Topping relaxing at a poolside in Palm Beach, 1959.
CZ Guest and son.
Poolside Gossip in Palm Springs
Aarons won the trust of those he photographed, and in turn, was allowed to shoot some of the most intimate and candid portraitures of the 20th century. He never used a stylist and the result of these brilliant pictures is what he described “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”. Aarons works appeared in Life Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country.
Born George Allen Aarons (October 29, 1916 – May 29, 2006), he served as a military photographer at West Point and later served as a combat photographer in World War II which earned him a Purple Heart. Aarons said combat had taught him the only beach worth landing on was “decorated with beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun”.
After the war, Aarons moved to California and began photographing celebrities. On New Year’s Eve, 1957 he shot his most praised photograph, Kings Of Hollywood, portraying Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart enjoying a joke at a New Year’s party held at Romanoff’s in Beverly Hills.
Below you can see some images featuring Aarons works, and how amazing they look in interiors.
Prints are available of his works and Slim Aarons has several coffee table books you should check out.
You can find more of his works on Getty Images Gallery.