Slim Aarons

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Slim Aarons
George Allen Aarons

(1916-10-29)October 29, 1916
DiedMay 30, 2006(2006-05-30) (aged 89)
Known forPhotography
Lorita Dewart (m. 1951)
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsPurple Heart ribbon.svg 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]


  • Aarons, Slim (1974). A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life. Harper and Row. ISBN 978-0060100162.
  • Aarons, Slim (2003). Slim Aarons: Once Upon A Time. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810946033.
  • Aarons, Slim; Sweet, Christopher (2005). Slim Aarons: A Place in the Sun. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810959354.
  • Aarons, Slim (2007). Poolside With Slim Aarons. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-0810994072.
  • Aarons, Slim; Sweet, Christopher (2012). Slim Aarons: La Dolce Vita (Getty Images). Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-1419700606.
  • Aarons, Slim (2016). Slim Aarons: Women. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-1419722424.


  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. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  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]