As it Happened | American Girl in Italy c.1951 | A Continuous Lean.

As it Happened | American Girl in Italy c.1951

Jan 11th, 2012 | Categories: As it happened | by Michael Williams

“American Girl” in front of Caffè Gilli, Florence, Italy 1951 by Ruth Orkin.

Comments: 20

20 Comments to “As it Happened | American Girl in Italy c.1951”

  1. david himel
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 9:34 AM

    is that guy playing pocket hockey whilst hooting

  2. matthew langley
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 9:38 AM

    funny the pizza place at broadway and 91 has this on the wall.

  3. J.S.
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 9:51 AM

    What a coincidence! I saw this on a bathroom wall just the other day when visiting Edinburgh. I suppose this is what it must be like for you in Florence?

  4. Andew Liston
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 9:52 AM

    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.

  5. Como Park
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 9:53 AM

    Had this framed, about 3′ x 5′, hanging in my various rooms and homes from about 1982- 2000. Probably still have it in storage somewhere… Love it.

  6. Christina
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 11:51 AM

    A good reminder of a classic image. I am still filling out my apartment with photos and art. Now I will be imagining which wall to put this on.

  7. Michael Carper
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 12:01 PM

    Small world. I was reading a coffee table book about Italy published in the 60s and this was one of the pics.

  8. Shoko
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 12:59 PM

    Love this!

  9. Anis
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 3:40 PM

    The 2 Guys on the Moto made me smile

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  10. Mac
    on Jan 11th, 2012
    @ 7:23 PM

    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.

  11. tylerharms
    on Jan 12th, 2012
    @ 5:58 AM

    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.

  12. stefanie
    on Jan 13th, 2012
    @ 12:32 AM

    this makes me feel fucking sad.

  13. Bo Jangles
    on Jan 13th, 2012
    @ 8:17 AM

    I think this was required wall hanging for any girl back from a semester abroad in Italy. I loved this picture and yet the image also scared me a bit.

  14. seth
    on Jan 13th, 2012
    @ 2:52 PM

    A great photograph that reveals an ugly side of Italian life.

  15. El Wonger
    on Jan 13th, 2012
    @ 2:53 PM

    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.

  16. Smith & Ratliff
    on Jan 13th, 2012
    @ 3:46 PM

    There’s a diner on Hudson near my apt that has this hanging up.

  17. Gloria
    on Jan 14th, 2012
    @ 11:07 PM

    I kind of find it hard to believe anyone ever thought this was romantic … at first look, the girl looks terrified to me, and the guy on the scooter looks positively predatory.

    Great photo, but I wouldn’t want it hanging in my house as something to look at.

  18. Lauren
    on Jan 15th, 2012
    @ 9:14 PM

    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.

  19. JV
    on Jan 16th, 2012
    @ 4:08 PM

    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.

  20. chris
    on Jan 20th, 2012
    @ 6:56 AM

    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
    Gross