Saturday, August 20, 2011

American Girl in Italy

This week the family needed an Italian food fix, so we went to Coppolas Restaurant.  When you walk through the door there is a framed printed photograph on the inside of the wall- American Girl in Italy.  Connor always thinks it’s a picture of me.  He always says ‘look at that picture of you mom’, ‘why do they have a picture of you?’, 'where were you?'.  Now given, the only thing I have in common with the woman in the photo is maybe her dark hair.  She is actually a slender 6 foot tall woman!  But for whatever reason, there is something in that picture that reminds Connor of me, so I’ve always liked it.  Monday this famous photo turned 60 years old!!  Here are some interesting facts I learned (and copied) from the media.  It will probably make you look at this print in a different way.
Ninalee Criag in Italy, with her orange shawl

-The woman in the photo is Ninalee Craig who traveled as inexpensively as she could through Europe which was rare for a woman of this time.

-She was staying at a hotel right on the Arno River in Florence where she could stay for $1 a day.  She met another solo female traveler, Ruth Orkin, a 29-year-old photographer.

-Both women decided to wander around Florence for about two hours and shoot pictures of what it was like to travel alone as women, this is where the famous photograph was shot.

-The shawl she is wearing is bright orange.

-The photo was not staged.  The men were just there but most were unemployed.  Italy had been trying to recover from the war and had been devastated.  Ruth Orkin did ask her to go back and repeat the walk once.
-The photographer, Ruth Orkin, describes the photo as a celebration of a strong, independent woman who isn’t afraid to live life.  (Ruth died in 1985).

-Ninalee Craig did not feel frightened in the photo.  Though the men in the photo appear to be leering and lascivious, she insists they were harmless and none of them crossed the line.

- The man committing the gesture toward his crotch was often airbrushed out because it was considered an image people should not see.
In my opinion, Ninalle Craig looks as beautiful today as she did in the photograph (and she is wearing the same orange shawl).

Here are some other snapshots photographer Ruth Orkin took with her new friend Ninalee Craig (the same day).  It all looks very fun and exciting.

Getting Directions

No Cell Phones, opening a real letter from mail was exciting!

Fun in Florence

Girl Time!  Can you believe this hotel was a 1.00 a night?

Photographer Ruth Orkin with model Ninalee Craig


  1. I LOVE this post! Connor is so sweet & I can totally see why he says that! I love that picture so much & was excited to see the woman now. Mom always says you look like Anne Hathaway!

  2. Thanks Jessica! I joke that I look like a plus sized Anne Hathaway. haaaa. But Connor doesn't see it. But I do enjoy black and white prints. Sometimes I just like to take black and whites to see what I come up with!