The Intimate Portraits’ Tribute to The Queen of Soul

Celebrity Photographer Matthew Jordan Smith with music icon Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin backstage at the Evening of Stars: Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Aretha Cool Books

“The first time I captured Aretha Franklin through my lens, I presented her with my maiden publication, ‘Sepia Dreams.’ Her immediate response was ‘Why am I not in this book?’”

— Matthew Jordan Smith

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, March 15, 2024 / — Celebrity, fashion, and beauty photographer Matthew Jordan Smith releases his fourth book, Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits (ICLA) in tribute to The Queen of Soul during Women’s History Month on Friday, March 15, 2024, available now on Amazon.

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). Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits is a photographic celebration of the last chapter of the iconic Aretha Franklin, witnessed through the lens of her favorite photographer.

From 2005 through 2018, the creative synergy between Matthew Jordan Smith and Aretha Franklin is evident in the rich tapestry of images that capture more than just moments, they narrate a profound connection. Each photograph is enveloped in stories, laughter, and candid expressions, a testament to their deep rapport. Aretha’s personal touches, from her phone calls to Matthew discussing everything from culinary preferences to the nuances of her photo shoots, and even discussions concerning album title choices post-session, are immortalized through Smith’s lens. His work goes beyond highlighting Aretha’s iconic status: it delves into the layers of her identity, presenting her in the light of her artistic journey and her essence as a woman.

“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, is a masterfully crafted coffee table photography book, spanning an impressive 256 pages, and offers two distinct editions, each providing exclusive access to the legendary Aretha Franklin’s world as seen through Matthew Jordan Smith’s lens. The Limited Edition, restricted to a mere one hundred copies, not only includes the same unseen glimpses and candid outtakes as the Standard Edition but also adds a layer of unparalleled exclusivity. Each book is signed and numbered, nestled within a bespoke clamshell enclosure, symbolizing the protective embrace of Aretha’s legacy. This edition becomes a treasure with the addition of a signed and numbered 8×10 fine art print, offering collectors a rare visual memento of Aretha’s rich narrative. The collector’s dream is a harmonious fusion of art, history, and soul – a true tribute to the Queen of Soul and the artistry of Matthew Jordan Smith.

Smith is based in Tokyo, Japan, and his photographs vividly capture the vibrancy, emotional depth, and powerful presence of Aretha, offering fans a unique perspective on the music legend. He is acclaimed for his expressive and insightful photography. He has photographed some of the world’s most famous icons, from Oprah Winfrey to Zendaya, Quincy Jones to George Lucas, Angelina Jolie to Angela Bassett, Sofia Vergara to Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah to Courtney B. Vance, Tyra Banks to Britney Spears, and even Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and many others. His narrative depth in each portrait invites viewers to experience the soul, grace, and resilience of Aretha Franklin, highlighting her enduring influence and status as a cultural icon.

Aretha Cool: The Intimate Portraits (ISBN – 979-8-218-27863-2) can be found online at Amazon. For international (English) purchases and inquiries, please visit Join us in honoring the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin through Matthew Jordan Smith’s evocative photography. This book is more than a collection of images; it’s a testament to the lasting impact of the Queen of Soul.

Matthew Jordan Smith
Matthew Jordan Smith Photography
+1 929-344-0981
[email protected]

Aretha Cool Promotional Video

Originally published at