Ruth Orkin: American Girl In Italy

The story behind the famous photograph

The American Photography Archives Group includes some truly great archivists, including relatives of Ernst Haas, Phillipe Halsman, Inge Morath, Gordon Parks and many more. The founder of this group is the inimitable Mary Engel, daughter of photographers Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel, who also works hard representing her parents’ archives. Daughter of a silent film actress, Ruth Orkin had an early interest in film movies and was the first messenger girl at MGM Studios. “Orkin wanted to become a cinematographer; however, women were not allowed to join the union. It was not until the 1950’s when she and her husband Morris Engel made their first independent feature film ‘Little Fugitive.’ Truffaut credited the film with helping to start the French New Wave.”