Iconic American photographer Slim Aarons built his legacy on “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”.
The definition of his talent is ready to come in full bloom with The High Life: Slim Aarons, a new documentary from the team at Made 2 Measure which premiered at MADE Sydney.
In the film we meet the man behind some of the jet set’s most opulent imagery filled with women lounging by insane clifftop pools, or Van Heflin, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper and James Stewart standing around a bar, laughing it up in full tuxes.
Aarons shot for lifestyle magazines like Town and Country and Life and his eye for glamour won him unprecedented access to some of the world’s most dramatic and decadent man-made locations.
Slim Aarons spent his life documenting jet setters, movie stars and beautiful people doing beautiful things in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. In “The High Life,” the story behind some of his most fabulous photographs are revealed among white sand beaches, longing palms and relaxed, gorgeous faces.
“He was the ultimate voyeur,” says Susan Hootstein, the executive producer and director of programming for the M2M channel. “He made beautiful people in beautiful places look like they were having the time of their lives.”
“I was sitting in an editing room where they had a stack of coffee table books, all of them Slim Aarons. I started poking through them and thought wow—I knew who he was, because his daughter Mary was a friend of mine when I was a kid—because I didn’t know how good he was,” Mitchell says. “I had been working on coming up with ideas for a fashion documentary, and this was sitting there staring me in the face.”
“He came from wartime photography into the lap of luxury—there’s a glamour mixed with an outsider’s perspective,” Hootstein added to Town and Country. “He lived his life in a very quiet way to get all of this access. He was in a place where no one else was: that world of high society that no longer exists. He had it all to himself, and he was the guy who was there documenting it all. Today, people are just taking iPhone pictures of one another, but he preserved a chapter of history that was, whether or not you like that world, worth preserving.”