American Girl in Italy: Behind the Iconic Photo


“NOT a symbol of harassment…”


2 thoughts on “American Girl in Italy: Behind the Iconic Photo

  1. Ms. Orkin, the photographer, moved from Los Angeles to NY during this same period of time. It turns out, she lived across the street from where I reside now, roughly 70 years later. I was at a cocktail party twenty years ago and started talking to an older, elegant, chain smoking woman, who it turned out, was the mother of the bride to be. Her name was Ida Mae _____ and asked if I was familiar with Ms. Orkin and I was, so we started chatting and she told me how Ruth would often lean out her window and photograph the street. This passion resulted in two books called “Outside My Window” and whatever the followup was called, back in the 80’s. She married a man named Morris Engle who was one of the founders of Cinema Verite and they went on to live at a tonier address around the corner, overlooking Central Park. Many historians consider her ‘American Girl’ photograph to be groundbreaking in that it was the first known use of a set up to create a ‘look’ which became then, and continues to be, what fashion photographers refer to as ‘Fashion Stories’ i.e. set up, fake editorials to help sell clothes etc and the monthly rag mags are full of them to this day. I teach photography at a local college and out of the 80 odd images I show them during one of my power points, this is always on the top five list afterwards.


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