Slim Aarons
Artist

Slim Aarons artprints

A renowned professional photo artist, Slim Aarons has skilfully captured jet-set life, without artifice, in a daily routine that has captured the imagination of the general public. Long before the age of posting images on Instagram, his unfiltered technique was already exposing the beautiful to the world. Now one of the most renowned artists in the world of photography, his work has long been featured in famous magazines such as Vogue and Vanity Fair. A friend to celebrities and millionaires, he rubbed shoulders with the most famous stars of the music, film, politics and finance worlds of the day, and throughout his life, through the prism of his camera, created an imaginary world around their lives.

 

Discover Slim Aarons' most beautiful photos, available as prints and posters in large-format photo paper, with "Eden-Roc Pool", depicting a magnificent villa with seaside pool, "Desert House Party", a slice of life from a garden party by a pool in Palm Springs, "Top-Hatted Chanteuse", a photo of film and music star Marlene Dietrich, or "Eye of the Beholder", a print depicting sunbathing by the pool of a hotel on the island of Capri.

 

Slim Aarons biography

 
 

Slim Aarons' early career as an army photographer

 
 
George Allen Aarons, later known as Slim Aarons, was born in Manhattan, New York, in 1916. In his youth, he was raised by his grandparents on a farm in New Hampshire. This life away from the city and the glitz, although at odds with the photography of his future career, was an important one for the photographer. 
 
At just 18, he decided to enlist in the army, at New York's West Point Academy. It was here that he discovered the photographic techniques of black and white and silver photography, notably with a Leica Photography camera, and began developing photos in the lab for the first time. It was during this period that he learned to print photos in a darkroom, and it was thus that, in the photo lab at the military camp, he transcribed life at the academy. It was also at West Point, during the filming of a documentary on the army, that he met director Frank Capra, who made legendary films in the first half of the 20th century, but also worked for American propaganda during the Second World War.

 

The war: Slim Aarons' first trip as a photographer

 

Thanks to Capra's recommendations, a new page in Slim Aarons' life is opened. He joined the military newspaper "The Stars and the Stripes" as a photojournalist, and it was with this position that he made his first trips outside the United States, first to London, then to the front in Italy, to photograph the Second World War. On the battlefield, he photographed the horrors of the period with film cameras, a far cry from the high-definition digital photography and light-hearted themes he would later experiment with. 

 

 

It was also during this experience that he met George Silk and Carl Mydans, two photojournalists from the American magazine "Life", which was to have a major influence on the development of the "Star System" and the representation of American "High Society". At the heart of the Italian campaign, the three photographers forged a strong bond, Slim Aarons even saving Mydans' life at great personal risk during a German artillery attack, earning him a Purple Heart.

 

From the horrors of war to the Jet-Set, a 180° turn for Slim Aarons

 

Back in the U.S., as if to compensate for the blows and horrors seen during the war, Slim Aarons decided to devote his art to lighter subjects. He would say he no longer wanted to see bad things in his life, and deserved an easier, more luxurious life after years spent in the mud. And so, in the course of his work for various magazines, first for "Life", then for "Holiday" or "Town & Country", he came into contact with the American Jet Set and other famous people. From then on, Slim Aarons travelled from villa to villa, taking portraits of artists and American socialites in a relaxed setting, far removed from the classical, inaccessible image that stars had hitherto exuded. 

 

Highly appreciated in this world of luxury, Aarons' eye became more refined, gradually creating a unique style, with better-quality photos and a sharpness and point of view never seen before. Whether poolside, in a hotel or at a garden party, Aarons succeeds in capturing the confidentiality of the moment, in beautiful shots representing the lightness of life during Hollywood's golden age. Clark Gable, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Gary Cooper and even the godfather Lucky Luciano all passed under the lens of Aarons, who was to become the stars' most popular photographer.

 

Slim Aarons' iconic photos: a new way of showing the world

 

In the 50s, Slim Aarons' fine art prints were acclaimed by all the major newspapers. Vanity Fair and Vogue embraced his distinctive photographic style, with large-format photos offering sublime color rendition and brilliant finishes. With no retouching, just the original negatives, the natural style of his subjects, and iconic locations such as Palm Beach, the Hamptons, Acapulco or Monaco, Slim Aarons, like a true fashion designer, manages to print his photos in a unique style, with developed colors, just by capturing the light with perfection. 

 

Whether he's shooting indoors, in black and white, in panoramic shots or by the sea, this photographer to the stars manages to offer a quality photo, representing the jet-set au naturel. Slim Aarons explains this success with a touch of humor, explaining that the reason he was able to capture such happy, natural moments in life was simply because people loved him. He went even further, mentioning that he didn't stage his subjects, nor did he need to prepare them, as they would naturally influence the style and fashion of tomorrow.

 

His contact with the stars, his ability to bring out the beautiful, and his acceptance as one of them, explain Slim Aarons' longevity in the business. The quality of his photographs, most of which have been enlarged into large-format images in the most fashionable magazines, but also in photo books such as "A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good life" or "Slim Aarons: once upon a time, New York", have made millions of Americans dream by exposing the dream life of celebrities, long before social networks.

 

Slim Aarons' influence on photography and the arts

 

Although highly regarded, Slim Aarons was seen at the time as a photographer of the stars, in the traditional sense of the word. However, his high-quality photos inspired many specialists, from professional photographers to the worlds of publishing and magazine sales, designers, fashion, art and advertising.

 

Au XXIe siècle, avec la résurgence de la photo rétro, et de tendances de déco comme le style « Palm Springs », ou la mode « californienne » chic et naturelle, les reproductions photo premium de Slim Aarons ont atteint le grand public. Comme des œuvres d’art, au même titre qu’une sculpture ou un tableau, on retrouve désormais les agrandissements des photographies de Slim Aarons dans les maisons de tout à chacun, exposées comme affiches pour décorer les intérieurs. Comme un vrai précurseur, il a également inspiré les réseaux sociaux, les stars appréciant de plus en plus poster des photos glamours, tout en restant naturelles et accessibles. Cela rejoint ainsi le souhait du photographe de diffuser la vie de la jet-set auprès du grand public, et désormais, les expositions récurrentes de ses oeuvres, et les originaux de ses clichés détenus par la société Getty image pouvant atteindre des prix importants, sont symbole de l'influence qu’a eu le photographe sur l’art en général.

 
Learn more about the life and the works of Slim Aarons.

Our collection of Slim Aarons photo prints

 
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