Poolside Gossip by Silm Aarons, 1970


You have probably seen it. In bars, in restaurants, on walls of hotel lobbies. The photo of two attractive women sitting in lounge chairs next to a pool and a modern house. Gray and purple mountains in the background.

Slim Aarons, a society photographer in Los Angeles, took the photo in 1970. The house in question was Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, one of the most famous examples of California modernism — the house that helped establish Palm Springs as centre for modernist architecture. Designed in 1946 by Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra, the house originally belonged to department store tycoon Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., who also commissioned Fallingwater from Frank Lloyd Wright.

In 1970, the house belonged to Joe and Nelda Linsk, Philadelphia clothing manufacturers (Nelda, a Texan model, was a buyer for Linsk of Philadelphia, before marrying the boss). In addition to Aarons, who lived just down the street, their neighbors then included Kirk Douglas, Jack Benny, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh and Lucy and Desi Arnaz. Mrs. Linsk remembers:

It was about 11 in the morning. Slim called us. He knew our house was a Neutra. He said: “I want to come over and do a pool shot. Call some friends over.”

It was so casual. He came with his tripod. The shoot was about an hour and a half. We had champagne and socialized for an hour or two afterward. It was a fun day. I had no idea it would become that famous. I wish I had royalties.  

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. Helen showed up in that fabulous white lace. She looked so glamorous!

Both of our outfits were bare midriff. We both had big hair. In those days, you had big hair.

The other women in the photo were Helen Dzo Dzo, who was then married the architect Hugh Kaptur and walking alongside the pool, Lita Baron, an actress. For the 45th anniversary of the photo, the women returned to the Kaufmann House to restage the iconic photo.

The house sold for $13.06 million in 2022.

If you like what I do and what I write, or simply wants me to write more, you can support me via Patreon. I had tremendous fun researching and writing Iconic Photos, and the Patreon is a way for this blog to be self-sustaining. Even if Patreon isn’t your thing, you can support by re-sharing, or tweeting about the blog or the specific posts on here. Thanks for your continued support! 

Liked it? Take a second to support Iconic Photos on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

One thought on “Poolside Gossip by Silm Aarons, 1970

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *