Who was Slim Aarons?

Slim Aarons was an American photographer who became famous for capturing “Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”, as described by Slim Aarons himself.

Over the course of a career lasting half a century, Slim Aarons (1916-2006) portrayed high society, aristocracy, authors, artists, business icons, the celebrated and their milieu. In doing so, he captured a golden age of wealth, privilege, beauty and leisure that occurred alongside—but quite separate from—the cultural and political backdrop of the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Early War Photography, May 1944

Raised in New York and New Hampshire, Slim Aarons began his photography career while in the Army. As a combat photographer he saw action in North Africa, the Middle East and Europe, witnessing the fall of Tobruk and the liberation of Rome. He received a Purple Heart.

Slim Aarons early days

After leaving the army, Slim became a freelance photojournalist in Hollywood and photographed the Hollywood elite; Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh to name but a few'.

Photographing Attractive People Doing Attractive Things in Attractive Places

Slim Aarons captured a golden age of wealth, privilege, beauty and leisure. His images are a veritable who’s who of high society. Working for the leading magazines of the day including Life, Holiday and Harper’s Bazaar, we imagine his work diary was filled with daringly glamourous social endeavours – from parties in Beverly Hills to winters in Gstaad and summers on the Italian Riviera.

Slim Aarons captured the luxury lifestyle

He captured a golden age of wealth, privilege, beauty and leisure

After leaving the army, Slim became a freelance photojournalist and through his Yank connections headed for his first civilian tour of duty in Hollywood. Slim photographed the Hollywood elite – Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh to name but a few. When Life magazine opened a bureau in Rome, Slim relocated and it was in the Eternal City, destination of an international array of celebrities and aristocrats, that Slim began in earnest his lifelong project documenting the Beautiful People.

Slim Aarons was a freelance photographer

In January of 1970, Nelda Linsk received a phone call from Slim Aaron…"I want to come over and do a pool shot. Call some friends over."

"It was just very casual,"" recalls Linsk, who owned the Kaufmann House at the time. “We just wore what we had; we did our own makeup and hair. We had no idea it was going to be so famous.”

Slim Aarons Poolside

Artist Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman describing Slim Aarons“Fun, funny and fatherly. He always arrived in a celebratory mood that made me feel that all was right in the world."

When Life magazine opened a bureau in Rome, Slim relocated and it was here when he began his lifelong project documenting the 'Beautiful People'. Slim worked for the leading magazines of the day often travelling to attend parties in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue. He enjoyed winters in Gstaad or Palm Beach, and summers on the French or Italian riviera and the Caribbean.

Slim Aarons lived his best life

Women were his number one subject

Slim Aarons may be known as the quintessential lifestyle photographer, but he would be the first to admit that women were his number one subject. From the hills of Hollywood to remote Swiss mountaintops, Slim tirelessly photographed the local beauties and style icons that have come to define his appealing brand of noble glamour.

Slim Aarons photographed women
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