Slim Aarons made his career “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places,” according to Aarons himself. A photographer of celebrities, royalty, and the über wealthy starting in the 1950s, his rise to fame was based on the understanding that he, too, was part of the elite socialite class. Only after Aarons’ death was it revealed that he was not an orphan from New Hampshire, as he had claimed, but he had actually grown up in an impoverished Jewish immigrant family on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
As a freelance photojournalist for Life magazine and other society papers, Aarons’ work took him to enviable places around the world and influenced an entire generation of photographers. His images capture beauty and privilege behind closed doors — a rare look into the private world of the rich and famous before they became oversaturated on social media, and one that still radiates a sense of abundance and ease that we all deserve this summer.
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