Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Week to See "Ruth Orkin: American Girl In Italy" Exhibition

RUTH ORKIN: American Girl in Italy, 60th Anniversary

The gallery is pleased to announce the 60th Anniversary of Ruth Orkin's photograph "American Girl in Italy."

August 22, 2011 marks the 60th anniversary of the photograph “American Girl in Italy” by Ruth Orkin (1921-1985). The subject of this famous photograph is Ninalee Craig (then known as Jinx Allen), who lives in Toronto, so the official celebrations marking the occasion will be hosted by Stephen Bulger Gallery.

The gallery will be exhibiting a selection of photographs taken in 1951, in Florence, after a chance meeting between Orkin and Jinx Allen, a painter and fellow American. The two were talking about their shared experiences traveling alone as young single women, when Orkin had an idea. “Come on,” she said, “lets go out and shoot pictures of what it’s really like.” In the morning, while the Italian women were inside preparing lunch, Jinx gawked at statues, asked military officials for directions, fumbled with lire and flirted in cafes while Orkin photographed her. Orkin’s best known image, “American Girl in Italy” was also created as part of this series.

Ruth Orkin was 17 when she took a cross-country trip by herself, bicycling and hitchhiking from her home in Los Angeles to New York, snapping pictures along the way. She later moved to New York, where this spirit of adventure continued. She photographed Tanglewood’s summer music festival, honed her craft in nightclubs, joined the Photo League, and with her first published story in Look magazine, became “a full-fledged photojournalist.” In 1951, Life sent her on assignment to Israel and from there she went to Italy.

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