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Have you ever seen the classic photos of the French Riviera boating life in the 50s and 60s? American photographer Slim Aarons was behind these iconic images, epitomising the simple, the natural and the elegant. Lara Saito of FINEPRINT Co, a gallery on Ferry Road in Southport, home to Slim’s timeless photographs, imparts some background on Slim’s photographic style.

Regarded as one of the most influential photographers of his generation, George Allen “Slim” Aarons was born on 29 October 1916 in Manhattan, New York, and raised in New Hampshire. He took up photography as a teenager, enlisted in the US Army as a photographer at the West Point Military Academy, and served as a combat photographer in World War II, which earned him a Purple Heart. After the war, he became a freelance photojournalist in California, working for leading magazines of the time, such as Life, Holiday, Town & Country, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Slim’s subjects were Hollywood’s elite, including Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, just to name a few. In recent years, his work has gained significant notoriety and has become increasingly popular due to our obsession with luxury and celebrity lifestyle.

NO ASSISTANTS, NO PROPS, NO STYLIST, NO LIGHTS – After arriving in Palm Springs in 1970, Slim was asked to produce a series of shots for Holiday magazine. For his now most famous photograph ‘Poolside Gossip’, he reached out to his close friend, Nelda Linsk, and asked her to invite a few friends to her home, the Kaufmann Desert House designed by Richard Neutra, for an impromptu daytime party. In compliance with his mantra – “No assistants, no props, no stylist, no lights, no problems” – he requested the guests to wear their own clothes, and do their own makeup and hair.

The photographs produced that day became an everlasting symbol of style and modernism, and would become an influence on designers and artists for years to come.

RIVA IN THE LIMELIGHT – The Riva’s heyday came in the 50’s and 60’s when Pietro Riva’s grandson, Carlos, turned Riva boats into luxury icons with his focus on craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The Riva was the epitome of style and sophistication, thus becoming a popular leisure activity for society’s elite and the perfect subject for Slim’s photographs. When Italy opened its borders to foreign visitors in 1948, Life magazine opened a bureau in Rome, and Slim jumped at the opportunity to relocate. It was here that he photographed the superbly crafted Riva boats and their famous occupants.

These boats were owned by aristocracy and celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Errol Flynn, Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, Sean Connery, and most recently George Clooney (who reportedly keeps his current Riva at his home on Lake Como).

ATTRACTIVE ON THE GOLD COAST – Slim Aarons’ photographs are appealing on so many levels. His photographs take people on a journey into the past, a lost era of style, grace and simplicity, a time before technology took hold. His images captivate our imagination and our desire to travel to exotic destinations, now more than ever, due to our current climate.

Slim’s self-described mission was to document “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” – best describes the Gold Coast! Not only are his photographs suitable in most homes and businesses on the Gold Coast, but his works are also on display at the Sheraton Mirage and The Star Casino.

Art and photography are such a personal experience. It is important to follow your heart when it comes to choosing an image, something that relates to you personally and not follow any trends. Slim Aaron’s photographs are for everyone, whether it is about boating, skiing, or traveling.


FINEPRINT Co is the exclusive agent for Getty Images in Australia and New Zealand, and the only company with access to the entire collection of original Slim Aarons’ photographs, housed in the Getty Archives in London. Our customers are investing in a piece of history. Each image is printed from the original transparency and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Orders take approximately 4-6 weeks to complete.

At our Ferry Rd Gallery, customers have the pleasure to come in and view a selection already framed and mounted. These are also available to purchase.

There are prints to accommodate all budgets, starting from a C’ size Frame d – 68 x 78cm at $1144 To a G’ size framed – 125 x 174cm, priced at $3190. If you require an even larger print, we have an I’ size option on selected images – 122 x 183cm (available on canvas only) priced at $3905.

Interview by Andy Kancachian

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