Slim Aarons

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

Photography career

He was born in Manhattan. 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."

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.

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 Kaufman House (once the home of singer Barry Manilow), 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, whose main character is a photographer played by Jimmy Stewart, is set in an apartment reputed to be based on Aarons' apartment.[6]


He died in 2006 in Montrose, New York, and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



  1. Douglas Martin 'Slim Aarons, 89, Dies; Photographed Celebrities at Play' New York Times: June 1, 2006
  2. MacDonell, N. (2007). In the Know: The Classic Guide to Being Cultured and Cool. Penguin.
  3. Aarons, Slim (2007). Poolside with Slim Aarons. Abrams, New York ; London
  4. See cover and comment: Friedman, Alice T. American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture. Yale University Press, 2010.
  5. Walker, T. (2008). Rich, Attractive People In Attractive Places Doing Attractive Things.
  6. Koetzle, Hans-Michael (2011). Photographers A-Z. Taschen, Cologne, p.6


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