chronicled a wealthy class in the throes of almost-
innocence, a state now lost to the modern worries of
cigarette socializing, drinks at noon and long days
spent languidly in the sun. In this latest collection
of his work, Aarons catches Beautiful People in their
spectacularly appointed playgrounds, doing...well,
vicious sunburn on her exposed breasts. In another
photo, a man flanked by four bikini-clad women at
nothing at all. And that’s the point.
The book’s “Public” section uncovers the brio of
swanky club and hotel pools around the globe, while
“Private” features backyard settings at extravagant
homes from France to Morocco to Mexico and back.
The only constant, of course, is the swimming pool.
Complicit in the camera’s curiosity, it offers up Bright
Young Things in torpid poses, it accompanies Aarons
Warren Avis’ Acapulco villa takes a moment to stare
down the camera with sneering, unfiltered bravado.
To flip through Poolside is to feel the urge not just to
globe-trot, but to travel through time. In one charming
and intimate photograph, a sunburnt Cheryl Tiegs
relaxes with Peter Beard. She is reading—and so is
he, over her shoulder—Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
There are no cell phones or BlackBerries here. Tying
to an intimate lunch on Lilly Pulitzer’s Palm Beach
terrace and gives his lens a patchwork of loungers at
Portugal’s Algarve Hotel.
In his introduction to the book, William Norwich
suggests that readers lay aside modern concepts of
up a hostess’ only phone line, in this age, is a faux pas
(reportedly committed by a desperately love-struck
Faye Dunaway one summer). Here, only the gorgeous
elite, at rest or at play.
Aarons photographed the most influential social
celebrity and money. These pages show a wealth
that bought—ironically—the privilege of privacy.
Indeed, what is most striking about Aarons’ work
scenesters of the day in utterly candid moments—a
level of comfort that is unimaginable today, when stars
speak through publicists and wealth is often cynical,
is its honesty: in the stunning use of natural light
calculated or raucous. But in the dappled sunlight of
and the unabashed candor of its subjects. Aarons
the American south or the Mediterranean coast, Slim
was a trusted friend to Poolside’s social set, and they
Aarons’ subjects are relaxed, happy. They’re secure
lounge before his camera in unselfconscious, even
in their isolation from the masses and surrounded
unflattering, poses. Love-handled men pad across
by friends. Gazing upon their open, smiling faces for
the concrete in Speedos; women sprawl topless and
just a moment, we are part of the inner circle. That’s
tan-lined on the deck. In St. Tropez, Nadine Maissant
the beauty of life, poolside n Kat Rosenfield ~ Poolside
shops for bathing suits, nonchalantly sporting a