Lunch #5: Daughter of an American Legend

My friend, Mary Aarons from Gloucester, Mass, was in town last week on business, and seeing the sights. For those of you who read this blog about “interesting Charleston residents doing interesting things” you might ask, “who is Mary Aarons?” Mary is a book publishing professional, and has been very helpful to Ben Gately Williams and me with our forthcoming book Charleston, a Good Life. It was Mary’s late father, Slim Aarons, who was the inspiration behind our book, and the series of books we plan to do.

For those of you who do not know Slim Aarons by name, he was one of America’s best known photographers from the late 1940’s through the 1980’s. You’ve seen his work, and may not have known it; click here to see samples. After World War II, Slim headed for Hollywood, where he photographed all the great stars: Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe and on. From Hollywood, Slim began travelling the world photographing “beautiful people, in beautiful places, doing beautiful things.” Slim became the international jet set and society photographer that everyone, who was anyone, knew and trusted. There are literally at least six coffee table size books today of Slim’s images from: Palm Beach, Jamaica, Marbella (Spain), the French Riviera, St. Moritz, Gstaad and on dozens of private yachts. If you enjoy lifestyle photography, order any of Slim’s books; they are exquisitely beautiful.

Is Slim Aarons still remembered professionally today? There isn’t a top photographer, magazine editor or art director today, who doesn’t refer to Slim’s iconic work. After lunch, Mary and I stopped by Garden & Gun’s spectacular new offices in the Cigar Factory, to visit with Editor-in-Chief David DiBenedetto, and Art Director, Marshall McKinney. Marshall mentioned that the December 2015 cover of Vanity Fair with Bill Murray astride a blow-up horse in a swimming pool, photographed by the great Bruce Weber, was a direct Slim Aarons copy from decades ago- the greats copy the greats.

Mary enjoyed her lunch at SNOB and loves COOKS! Also seen at SNOB, while we were there: Johnny Maybank, Tommy Bennett, Merrill Benfield, Bill Hall, Sr., Dick Elliott, Judy Tarleton and Chris Price.

Charleston, A Good Life, co-authored by photographer, Ben Gately Williams, and writer/editor, Ned Brown, is a book profiling “interesting Charlestonians (old and newer), doing interesting things in a wonderful place.” The book will be released in latter 2016. Charleston, A Good Life,  will tell the story of why Charleston is a special place through over 50 environmental portraits of individuals; the first book about Charleston of its kind. What we are doing with the Charleston, A Good Life blog is telling you a bit about the people we are profiling, and other Charleston topics of interest.

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