'Sundowners' two bikini clad holidaymakers, enjoying a glass of wine outside the Carlton Hotel Cannes 1958
Slim Aarons, born George Allen Aarons (October 29, 1916, Manhattan - May 29, 2006, Montrose, New York), was an American photographer noted for photographing socialites, jet-setters and celebrities.
At 18 years old, Aarons enlisted in the U.S. Army, working as a photographer at West Point and later serving as a combat photographer in World War II and earning a Purple Heart. Aarons said that combat had taught him that the only beach worth landing on was "decorated with beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun."
Beach at Saint Tropez
After the war, Aarons moved to California and began photographing celebrities. In California, he shot his most praised photo, 'Kings of Hollywood', a 1957 New Year's Eve photograph depicting Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart relaxing at a bar in full formal wear. Aaron's work appeared in Life, Town & Country and Holiday magazines.
'Kings of Hollywood' 1957
Aarons never used a stylist, or a makeup artist.
Aarons made his career out of what he called "photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places." "I knew everyone," he said in an interview with The (London) Independent in 2002. "They would invite me to one of their parties because they knew I wouldn't hurt them. I was one of them." Alfred Hitchcock's film, Rear Window, whose main character is a photographer played by Jimmy Stewart, is set in an apartment reputed to be based on Aarons's apartment. He died in 2006, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
'Having a Topping Time', socialite Alice Topping, relaxing by the poolside in Palm Beach, 1959
I can't say I blame him for wanting to "photograph attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" after some of the dreadful things he must have experienced during the second world war, I think his photographs are wonderful, they just jump out at you and are full of vitality and colour. It must have been wonderful jetting round the world, hobnobbing with the rich and famous, photographing them for a living, what a life! His photos helped to fuel the aspirational needs of the post war world and are a wonderful chronicle of the second half of the twentieth century.
'Five debutantes' 1955
Katherine Hepburn 1953
'Leisure and fashion' a woman watching a poolside fashion show at the Colony Hotel,Palm Beach Florida, 1961
'Sea Drive' Naussau 1967
'Park Avenue' Diana Vreeland with her husband Reed chatting to slim Hawks at a New Years Eve party, 1952
Mara Lane at The Sands, Las Vegas 1954
'New York Picnic', 1952
'Mans Work', Hugh Hefner surrounded by bunny girls at the Key Club, Chicago, 1960
Dolores Del Rio, Acapulco 1952
Trueman Capote in his apartment, Brooklyn Heights, New York 1958
Cee Zee guest 1955
There are some wonderful coffee table books of his work available here