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Slim Aarons, Socialites, and Swimming Pools

One of the themes for June's requested posts is Rainbow Bright, galleries about your vivid color negative/slide photographs. For inspiration, we're sharing these images of luxurious rest and recreation by American photographer to the stars and the jetset, Slim Aarons. Life's a beach!

Ahhh, the good life. Cyan swimming pools, country club cocktails, casas and regattas, champagne and chartered planes… No other photographer captured the lifestyles of the retro rich and famous like Slim Aarons. Photographing "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places,” Aarons was every millionaire’s main man when it came to pictures. “I knew everyone,” he told 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.”

At 18, Aarons joined the U.S. Army. He served as a combat photographer during World War II and later earned the a military merit, the Purple Heart. After the war, he said that the only beaches worth landing on were the ones “decorated with beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun.”

“As a chronicler of the good life, as lived by the upper classes and aristocracy in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, Slim Aarons has no peer. Born in New Hampshire in the early years of the century, he was a classic outsider looking in, and as such he idealized the rich. The women are beautiful and exquisitely dressed, the men handsome and poised. The houses, shown in detail, range from European palazzos and castles to Palm Beach to suburban and Southhampton castles. Slim Aarons brought a photojournalist’s eye to the art of formal society portraiture, posing his subjects as still life, in their magnificent environments. Aaron’s also visited Hollywood frequently on assignment and the stars at play were also his subjects.”

Post-war, Aarons photographed for magazines like Travel and Leisure, Town and Country, and LIFE. His documentation of billionaires in their playgrounds resulted in several coffee table books, namely A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life (1974), Slim Aarons: Once Upon a Time (2003), Slim Aarons: A Place In the Sun (2005) and Poolside with Slim Aarons (2007). Aarons never hired a stylist or a makeup artist.

Sources include The World of Photographers, Staley Wise Gallery, The Selvedge Yard, and Wikipedia.

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written by denisesanjose

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Português.