Poolside Pairs 1970: Lita Baron Nelda Linsk Helen Dzo Dzo at the Richard Neutra-
designed house of Edgar Kaufman
Slim Aarons' most famous photographs are undoubtedly the "Poolside Gossip” series.
Aarons spent a week in Palm Springs in January 1970 photographing the resort town on assignment for Holiday. Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946 and considered a modernist masterpiece, the Kaufmann Desert House and its pool sat perfectly situated at the base of the rolling mountains on Palm Spring's western edge. Conveniently, the home was owned by Nelda Linsk, who happened to be in town. When Nelda and her husband weren’t in Palm Springs, they could be found at their home in New York’s Bedford Village, which, just as conveniently, was located down the road from Slim’s house in Katonah.
The photographer called his friend and neighbor, explained he simply couldn’t go back to Holiday without a pool story, and asked if she wouldn’t mind having a few friends over for a party. Nelda was happy to oblige. She made a few calls of her own, and an hour or so later Slim showed up with his camera and tripod. Nelda and guests are presented as they arrived—in clothes pulled from their own closets. As with most of Slim’s shoots, there were no assistants, no wardrobe, no stylists. There is no question the guests all look chic, but the unceremonious and pervasive lightness of the entire affair provides the photographs with their inescapable allure.
- Shawn Waldron
There were no makeup or wardrobe people. Slim said, “Pull something out of your closet.” Our house was done in yellow: the umbrellas were yellow, the flowers yellow. So I thought I’d wear something yellow. My outfit was in yellow terry cloth. I had on palazzo pants. If I’d known then what I know today, I might have dressed up a little more. Slim called me one day from a book-signing party in New York and said, “Why is this photo so famous?” I said, “Slim, it’s because I’m in it.”
- Nelda Linsk