March 7, 2023 | 1432 Views | By Patrick Smith

Introducing Aretha Cool: A Decade with The Queen of Soul

Aretha Cool covers the multimedia journey of renowned photographer, Matthew Jordan Smith’s friendship with Aretha Franklin. It includes his fine art photography and audio commentary featuring iconic and never before seen images of the legendary singer. The book and his narrations are a touching tribute to the Queen of Soul. They celebrate her extraordinary life during the last years of her career.

A Note from Matthew:
I’m sure you know how important it is to have the best quality photos possible. When I first started working with Aretha Franklin back in 2005, I was just beginning to work with digital cameras. While I love many of those images today, I’m always looking for ways to make them better.

That’s why I’ve been using ON1 Resize AI to make my files bigger and better. With its advanced artificial intelligence, this AI photo resizer software can automatically resize and enhance images so they look their best – even if they were originally taken on a low-resolution camera! ON1 Resize AI has made the process of enlarging my files quick and easy. Not only did it do a great job of making the files bigger without losing any detail, but it also improved the overall sharpness and clarity of my images. It’s been a huge help in making sure that my photos look their best for the Aretha Cool book.

Along with the creation of the Aretha Cool book, I am having photo exhibitions this month in several places. ON1 Resize AI has made it possible to print my old files without any loss in quality-in fact, it has made my images look better! Now I can easily print large size images without loss of fidelity or sharpness.

You too can support this project!

Aretha Franklin. Photography by Matthew Jordan Smith © 2014 All Rights Reserved

The Aretha Cool book will be available, with your support, in two versions—a Regular Edition and a Special Limited Edition. Both editions will be hardcover books and include an introduction by Gwendolyn Quinn, Aretha Franklin’s longtime publicist.

Gwendolyn has been an integral part of the Queen of Soul’s career and was there to support and witness many of her greatest successes, including her iconic performances at the 1998 Grammy Awards when she stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti who fell ill during the ceremony, the historic 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama, and the Pope Francis 2015 visit to Philadelphia, as well as her acceptance of numerous awards and honors including when she was named the number one Greatest Singer of All Time for multiple, consecutive years by Rolling Stone Magazine. She also served as a confidante and trusted public relations adviser throughout Aretha’s career, and during and after her death.

Aretha Franklin was an icon, and her life has been captured in books, films, documentaries and more. But until now, no one has ever shared images and stories of Aretha Franklin’s last decade of life from a photographer’s point of view. I am raising funds to create a photography book to share an intimate look at Aretha Franklin’s life from the perspective of a photographer who was there to witness the last years of her career. In Aretha Cool, you’ll get to experience the joy, laughter, and excitement of being up close and personal with the Queen of Soul.

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