Ruth Orkin, American Girl in Italy | Contact Sheets

This blog has covered the above photo last year on its 60th anniversary (here), but I just only recently stumbled upon its contact sheets.

The photo was the result of a superb collaboration between two American girls each traveling solo across war torn Europe in 1951. Ruth Orkin and Jinx Allen randomly ran into each other in a cheap hostel overlooking the Arno in Florence, and in her widely-acclaimed photoessay, Don’t be Afraid to Travel Alone, Orkin photographed Jinx Allen shopping in the markets, crossing traffic, riding a carriage and flirting at a cafe.

But the most famous was the above photo; it was taken at 10:30 a.m., but the street was packed with loitering men because work was scarce and unemployment high in post-war Italy. While the contact sheet began at its eighth frame, they show that Orkin indeed took only two versions of her famous photo. You can also see from the contact sheets that after those two frames, the man on the Vespa took Jinx Allen for a ride (literally).

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