Slim Aarons’ world of wealth, glittering jet-setters, and beauty
‘It’s that fun that makes Aarons’ work so attractive.’
‘It’s that fun that makes Aarons’ work so attractive.’
Although his photography was mainly focused on the wealthy, glittering jet-setters around poolsides, the main character in ‘Poolside with Slim Aarons’ is the pool itself. You will see a pool on every picture and get a visual treat of everything that comes with it: tanned bodies, oiled skin, cocktails, bikinis and above else: fun. It’s that fun that makes Aarons’ work so attractive.
Speaking of attraction: through the years, Aarons developed a simple mantra: he wanted to be “photographing attractive people, who were doing attractive things in attractive places”. And that’s what he did: for nearly fifty years, he documented all the splendor of high society. One of the main reasons he wanted to capture life’s beauty, was because of the unique, but tough start of his photography career.
When he was just 18 years old, Aarons became an American Army photographer and traveled to Europe to document the Second World War. After that, Slim needed an antidote to the devastation and horror he had seen in Europe, which would become the capturing of the rich and famous of Europe and the United States. Combat taught him that, quote: “the only beach worth landing on was “decorated with beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun.”
MENDO’s Daan loves the vibrancy of Aarons’ work and says that ‘Poolside with Slim Aarons’ is a book that like-minded book lovers love to talk about in our Berenstraat flagship store. “A couple of years ago, books and fashion were sober, abstract and Scandinavian,” Daan says. “But now I see that fashion and photography are becoming warmer, more Moroccan and generally, more Mediterranean. That’s why I think this book is a bestseller.”
Aarons would spend a lot of time at the poolside of Marbella, Monaco and Malibu, taking pictures of European aristocrats and celebrities like Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness, Joan Collins, C. Z. Guest, Man Ray, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull. His arguably most famous picture is “The Kings of Hollywood,” which shows Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Van Heflinand and Jimmy Stewart during 1957 New’s Year’s Eve in Hollywood’s ‘Romanoff’s’ restaurant. Aarons’ photography was mainly commissioned and published by society publications like Town and Country, Holiday and LIFE magazine.
It’s not hard to see that although Slim Aarons’ pictures were taken decades ago, he is still a big inspiration for photographers of nowadays. Daan: “His work is well-loved and especially the Mediterranean vibe in his poolside book can be found in recent books. If you take a look at Dennis Swiatkowski’s work in #SENDNUDES, the pictures of Akila Berjaoui or the photography Henrik Purienne’s ‘Holiday’, you can easily see that they are influenced by the work of Aarons.”
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