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Need Some Summer Inspiration? Look No Further Than These Vintage Photos.

Dickie Greenleaf, eat your heart out.

Posted on May 22, 2021, at 2:45 p.m. ET

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Photographer Slim Aarons slouches in a chair with the Acropolis and its surroundings as a backdrop, circa 1955.

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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Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Lillian Hanson relaxes by the swimming pool at the Bürgenstock Estate, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 1955.

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

American writer C.Z. Guest and her son Alexander Michael Douglas Dudley Guest in front of their Grecian temple pool on the ocean-front estate, Villa Artemis, Palm Beach.

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Lahaina Kameha wearing a hat, in Haiti, February 1981

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Surfers outside a beach hut at Laguna Beach, California, January 1970

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

A family enjoying a picnic on the bank of the Whiting River near Campbell Falls, Massachusetts, 1959

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

A woman wearing a swimsuit poses against a rock in the sea at Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy, 1964

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

A woman prepares to go snorkeling in Lyford Cay, Bahamas, March 1962.

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Herb Field, owner of the Sea Horse Beach Resort, with his family on the Gulf Coast, Miami, Florida, April 1972.

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Former actor Princess Patricia Anne zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst with friends in Marbella, Spain, circa 1967

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

A pool story

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

An unidentified woman stands in a garden wearing a strapless blue dress, Bermuda, 1957.

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Five women in costumes partying at Emi Fors, Acapulco, Mexico, 1966

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

American singer Dinah Shore (center) and actor Kirk Douglas (far right) at a beach party in Acapulco, Mexico, January 1968

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Philanthropist and socialite Mollie Wilmot leaning on a sofa while having a drink underneath Picasso's painting "The Artist's Studio (The Open Window)," Palm Beach, Florida, US, 1983

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Hat designer Darcy Creech appearing from the window of a house with its facade covered with hats, September 1991

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Rita Aarons, wife of photographer Slim Aarons, during the filming of Mister Roberts in Hawaii, 1955

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Carla Vuccino, in a swimming cap, and a sunbathing Marina Rava, both wearing bikinis as they sit on the rear of a boat off the coast of the island of Capri, Italy, 1958.

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, wearing futuristic style sunglasses, on the Aga Khan's yacht, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, Italy, August 1967

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Yale student Edith Hansel lying on a sofa, Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, circa 1990

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

From left: Hilda Juliette Arias de Rey Millet, Maria Victoria Herrera de Reynolds, and Serina Bradley Martin Sanchez relaxing in front of a white clapperboard house in Palm Beach, Florida, circa 1982

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Italian socialite Gioia Gaetani dell'Aquila d'Aragona Lovatelli with her daughter Lucrezia, in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, Italy, 1991

Slim Aarons / Getty Images

Guests at a beach hut at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes on the French Riviera, August 1969


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.