American Girl in Italy, 1951 Ruth Orkin
The reaction to the iconic photo of a young girl making her way through what seems a sea of leering men is visceral; the anxiety is palpable, the contempt for their brutish behavior is instantaneous. Photographer Ruth Orkin's photo American Girl in Italy is her best known image. The model, 23-year old Ninalee Craig, was traveling solo in Italy when she met the 29-year old Orkin. The two adventurous women shared stories with one another about their travels when Orkin suggested they'd create images of what it was really like to travel alone as a young single woman. Orkin shot photos of Craig for several hours, asking for directions, shopping, flirting and sightseeing. "We were literally horsing around," Craig said. "It's not a symbol of harassment. It's a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time!"
(photos, Ruth Orkin)