Fashion & Beauty Photographer Matthew Jordan Smith Releases Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits


Beauty and fashion photographer Matthew Jordan Smith releases Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits. Smith’s fourth book is his tribute to the Queen of Soul during Women’s History Month. Smith is the author of Sepia Dreams: A Celebration of Black Achievement Through Words and Images (St. Martin’s Publishing Group), Lost and Found (Filipacchi Publishing), and Future American President: 50 States, 100 Families, Infinite Dreams (Goff Books). The photographs were taken between 2005 and 2018, the last years of her life. Smith was the iconic singer’s favorite photographer and their rapport included conversations about photography, food, album titles, and plenty of laughter and jokes. Smith says, 

“The first time I captured Aretha Franklin through my lens, I presented her with my maiden publication, Sepia Dreams: A Celebration of Black Achievement Through Words and Images, says Smith. “Her immediate response, laced with her iconic mix of humor and sincerity, ‘Why am I not in this book?’ It was then that I made a heartfelt promise to rectify this oversight in a future endeavor.”

Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits has two distinct editions. The Limited Edition has 100 copies and includes all the same photos as the standard one but each book is signed, numbered,  and packaged within a clamshell enclosure. This edition also has a signed and number 8 x 10 fine art print that collectors will appreciate. 

Smith is no stranger to photographing larger-than-life figures including Queen Latifah, Oprah, Courtney B. Vance, Quincy Jones, George Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson, and many others. 

Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits will be available via Amazon  on March 15th.  For international purchases visit


Aretha Franklin and Matthew Jordan Smith