The story goes that Ruth Orkin had this woman walk down that street a number of times before she got the shot that she liked. Like many of the iconic photographs from this period, it was staged….but beautiful. I particularly like a lot of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work.
and people wonder why the Italian economy is in such woes… all they do is stand around! and then, maybe, if you’re lucky, and they feel like it, they may go off and make something on their own time that’s really well done, and beautiful, but never on anyone’s timeline but their own. geesh.
i used to love this picture–the effortless romanticism it invokes–but i don’t anymore. now, i find it claustrophobic and a bit predatory. as my wife likes to say, “even the police officers in italy ogle women.” talk about swimming with sharks. and her hand at the collar of her shawl–it looks and feels defensive.
Most of the guys in that friend were Ruth Orkin’s (the phtotographer) friends and the photo was staged, although that’s been denied in more recent years. Jinx Allen (the girl in the photo, now known as Ninalee Craig), has always refuted the interpretation that she was afraid and being sexually harassed. She also acknowledges that this photo was one of two consecutive passes and shots that she and Ruth made down this street corner, during which they were flirting, socializing, conversing and having a generally innocent and good time with the locals.
I had this poster-sized on my teenage bedroom wall. I had aspirations of looking this chic, and garnering stares like that. When I finally did travel to Italy, I garnered the stares but certainly did not look as effortless.
I think the point of titling it “American Girl in Italy” was that American women were (are) not taught how to deal effectively with this type of male attention. It’s been my experience that women from Latin countries know how to give the brush off exceedingly well, or, when feeling more playful, can give and take skillfully.
It’s a very American idea that interaction between the sexes be so regimented. Well, maybe not solely American.
Reminds me of that scene in godfather when the film mogul goes,
“And then Johnny Fontaine with his greasy olive oil ways and guinea charm goes and ruins her for me…….”
In America we call them Guidos
Guidos or Guidettes.
Like Snooki of Joisey