Slim Aarons

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Slim Aarons
Born George Allen Aarons
(1916-10-29)October 29, 1916
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Died May 30, 2006(2006-05-30) (aged 89)
Montrose, New York, U.S.
Known for Photography
Lorita Dewart (m. 1951)
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Awards Purple Heart

Slim Aarons (born George Allen Aarons; October 29, 1916 – May 30, 2006) was an American photographer noted for photographing socialites, jet-setters and celebrities.

Photography career[edit]

At 18 years old, Aarons enlisted in the U.S. Army, worked as a photographer at West Point, and later served as a combat photographer in World War II and earned 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."[1]

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's 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.[1]

Aarons never used a stylist, or a makeup artist. He made his career out of what he called "photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places."[1][2] An oft-cited example of this approach is his 1970 Poolside Gossip[3] shot at Richard Neutra's Kaufmann House, with owner Nelda Linsk as one of the models in the photo.[4] "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."[5] Alfred Hitchcock's film, Rear Window (1954), whose main character is a photographer played by Jimmy Stewart, is set in an apartment reputed to be based on Aarons' apartment.[6]

In 1997, Mark Getty, the co-founder of Getty Images, visited Aarons in his home and bought Aarons' entire archive.[7]

In 2017, filmmaker Fritz Mitchell released a documentary about Aarons, called Slim Aarons: The High Life.[8]


Aarons died in 2006 in Montrose, New York, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[1][9]



  1. ^ a b c d Martin, Douglas (June 1, 2006). "Slim Aarons, 89, Dies; Photographed Celebrities at Play". The New York Times. p. A23. 
  2. ^ MacDonell, Nancy (2007). In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool. Penguin Books. ISBN 0143112600. 
  3. ^ Aarons, Slim (2007). Poolside With Slim Aarons. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810994072. 
  4. ^ Friedman, Alice T. (2010). American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300116540. 
  5. ^ Walker, Tonya (2008). "Rich, Attractive People In Attractive Places Doing Attractive Things". Virginia Commonwealth University. 
  6. ^ Koetzle, Hans-Michael (2011). Photographers A-Z. Cologne: Taschen. p. 6. ISBN 978-3836511094. 
  7. ^ Peretz, Evgenia. "Inside the world of Slim Aarons". The Hive. Retrieved 2017-11-09. 
  8. ^ Rathe, Adam (May 15, 2017). "An Exclusive Look at the New Slim Aarons Documentary". Town & Country. ISSN 0040-9952. 
  9. ^ Slim Aarons at Find a Grave

External links[edit]