Book Review: Slim Aarons - "Once Upon A Time"

“Once Upon A Time” by Slim Aarons stays true to its title throughout its 250 color photographs. A true master of his genre, Slim Aarons’s photos inhabit the hearts and souls of the people that view them. With this collection of exquisite images, Aarons takes his readers on a journey familiar to few but traveled by none.

Everyone is a star in Aarons’s camera lens. Stretching from the 1950s to the 1980s, he captures personal moments of Hollywood celebrities, social elites, and royalty. Taken in 1955, one photo captures longtime fashion icon C.Z Guest with her family, candidly standing beside a pool. While in another instance, he shows the late Gianni Versace hard at work in his home at Lake Como. In Once Upon A Time, Aarons narrates stories of eras past, instilling a strong sense of nostalgia and appreciation in his readers. There is an unparalleled magnanimity in the work of Aarons, as his subjects are personalities who are larger than life. Yet, Aarons’s photographs have a humanizing element that scales these subjects down and presents them in a relatable way. He draws away from the curtains of privacy, ensuring that the previously unimaginable lives of the elite are no longer shrouded in mystery. Instead, they are portrayed in the most lifelike and comprehensible manner. This sets Aarons leagues apart from other expert photographers and socialites.

In this photomontage, Aarons all but delivers on his promise of “showing attractive people in attractive places doing attractive things”. Masterfully narrated and curated by the late Aarons, every picture weaves a unique story. There is nothing to dislike in “Once Upon A Time”.

Pages: 240
Size: 10.4 X 1.1 X 12.3 inches
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Images Copyright: Slim Aarons & Getty Images


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