American Girl in Italy: 60 Years Later

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    Aug 20, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    This amazing woman looked fabulous 60 years ago and still looks damn good for her age today.

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    A stunning young woman walks down a street in Florence, her head held high. All around, men playfully gawk at her grace and beauty. Just then the camera shutter snaps. "American Girl in Italy" is among the most popular snapshots of all time, and it's turning 60 years old this month.

    The photo, which was shot in 1951, perfectly captures the fun and romance of being abroad. In honor of its birthday, Ninalee Craig, the subject of the photo spoke with the "Today" show about what happened behind the scenes and what the photo really represents.

    In her "Today" appearance, Craig spoke about how, despite what some might say, the photo isn't a "symbol of harassment." Craig insists that the image is "a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time."

    Craig should know--when the photo was taken, she was a 23-year-old traveling alone through Europe. While staying at a cheap hotel, Craig met photographer Ruth Orkin, who was also touring the continent solo. The two spoke about the fun and challenges of being alone while on the road in Italy--and went on to hatch a plan to take photos highlighting that experience.

    For two hours, the photographer and amateur model walked the streets of Florence. Orkin took photos at markets and in cafes. The street-scene photo came about naturally. According to Craig, Orkin shot only two pictures of her walking down the macho street. One of them turned out to be the iconic image commemorated today.

    As for whether or not the photo was staged, Craig says no way. "The big debate about the picture, which everyone always wants to know, is: Was it staged? No! No, no, no! You don't have 15 men in a picture and take just two shots. The men were just there . . . . The only thing that happened was that Ruth Orkin was wise enough to ask me to turn around and go back and repeat" the walk down the street.

    In the interview, Craig also remarked that she never felt in danger while walking among the admiring men. "None of those men crossed the line at all," she said.

    Craig is now a great-grandmother living in Toronto. Orkin, who passed away in 1985, went on to co-write and co-direct the 1956 Oscar-nominated film "Little Fugitive." Of course, both women will be best remembered for one indelible image that, staged or not, captured the public's imagination and never let go.


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    Aug 20, 2011 6:52 AM GMT
    "Incredible lady"? Why, because she walked down the street and had a picture taken of her?

    What a boring post. What is more interesting (but just barely) is why you would ever put the time into writing this up.
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    Aug 20, 2011 3:45 PM GMT
    @ sxydrkhair
    -It's my pleasure! It's such a great photograph of a different time and place; a time and place women often didn't travel alone simply because they were women. It captures, in my mind, an image of Italy that many people have, or did have in regards to culture, societal attitudes, and fashion.

    MindAndMatter said"Incredible lady"? Why, because she walked down the street and had a picture taken of her?

    What a boring post. What is more interesting (but just barely) is why you would ever put the time into writing this up.


    I could care less if you find this boring and that it doesn't suit your taste.I suppose that for you to understand the importance behind this picture and it's cultural significance would require critical thinking; a skill many of us learn while in high school and college. Also, consider sending an e-mail to the actual writer of this article since you find it so boring and such a waste of time. Grow-up.

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/american-girl-italy-60-years-later-221005987.html
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    Aug 20, 2011 4:23 PM GMT
    I found it interesting. The pictures are great because the beauty of the young women and the social connotation of having a young American girl traveling to the Post war Europe. And Wow, only $1.00 a night in a cheap hotel in Florence! Thanks for posting!
  • irishguy202

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    Aug 20, 2011 4:42 PM GMT
    I love this photograph! It has always been one of my favorites.
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    Aug 20, 2011 4:46 PM GMT
    Maybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.

    The truth is you posted this because you identify with her. You wish you could be prancing around Europe as a young, fresh-faced American girl, getting all the hoots and hollers of young men on the corner. It captured your imagination and made you all tingly inside. And that's okay. But let's call it what it is.

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    Aug 20, 2011 4:55 PM GMT
    MindAndMatter saidMaybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.

    The truth is you posted this because you identify with her. You wish you could be prancing around Europe as a young, fresh-faced American girl, getting all the hoots and hollers of young men on the corner. It captured your imagination and made you all tingly inside. And that's okay. But let's call it what it is.



    This really gets to you doesn't it?
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    Aug 20, 2011 4:59 PM GMT
    Really looks good and she looks great to this day! icon_biggrin.gif
  • irishguy202

    Posts: 313

    Aug 20, 2011 4:59 PM GMT
    This was recently a big media story, I think that is way he posted it. This is a very famous photograph and put the photographer on the map at the time. Every major University has it on their list of study in photography classes.
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    Aug 20, 2011 5:03 PM GMT
    MindAndMatter saidMaybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.

    The truth is you posted this because you identify with her. You wish you could be prancing around Europe as a young, fresh-faced American girl, getting all the hoots and hollers of young men on the corner. It captured your imagination and made you all tingly inside. And that's okay. But let's call it what it is.



    Again, if YOU have such an issue with the photograph and article, I suggest you send an e-mail to the now deceased photographer and very much alive writer, who is listed at the beginning of the article. And in regards to the short bus, I'd rather be on that than none at all! icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 20, 2011 5:04 PM GMT
    I appreciated the post, thanks. I looked through Orkin's other photos--she was a very talented photographer, and Craig is stunning, I agree.

    MindAndMatter saidMaybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.


    Why so negative?

    I believe the critical thinking he was referring to was why this photo is culturally significant, not how she kept her beauty.
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    Aug 20, 2011 5:04 PM GMT
    MindAndMatter saidMaybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.

    The truth is you posted this because you identify with her. You wish you could be prancing around Europe as a young, fresh-faced American girl, getting all the hoots and hollers of young men on the corner. It captured your imagination and made you all tingly inside. And that's okay. But let's call it what it is.



    Every stereotype has some truth to it. I offer this "dumb jock" as prime evidence.
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    Aug 20, 2011 5:14 PM GMT
    MindAndMatter saidMaybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.

    The truth is you posted this because you identify with her. You wish you could be prancing around Europe as a young, fresh-faced American girl, getting all the hoots and hollers of young men on the corner. It captured your imagination and made you all tingly inside. And that's okay. But let's call it what it is.



    Here are some other photographs of incredible women that captured my imagination. Bonus points for guessing why these pictures are so significant.

    Anne Frank
    annefrank.jpg

    Little Rock [Arkansas] Central HS
    LittleRock.jpg

    Migrant Mother, 1936
    migrantmother.jpg
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    Aug 20, 2011 8:59 PM GMT
    MindAndMatter said"Incredible lady"? Why, because she walked down the street and had a picture taken of her?

    What a boring post. What is more interesting (but just barely) is why you would ever put the time into writing this up.


    Considering what else being posted these days, this is definitely more interesting than "vote for me for MOTD" and "Guy above you" threads. Would you rather read those posts?

    And you are unnecessarily mean in your reply.
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    Aug 20, 2011 9:11 PM GMT
    Columbusite777 saidBonus points for guessing why these pictures are so significant.

    Bonus points? You mean you think there are guys here who DON'T know what these pics are? I hope to God that's not true.

    And BTW, although each of these pics is important, and not to dismiss the other 2, but the dust bowl migrant picture from the Great Depression always moves me. The children turning away did so because they were ashamed of their homeless & dirty status, when they saw the photographer and her camera. Very moving.
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    Aug 20, 2011 10:21 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Columbusite777 saidBonus points for guessing why these pictures are so significant.

    Bonus points? You mean you think there are guys here who DON'T know what these pics are? I hope to God that's not true.

    And BTW, although each of these pics is important, and not to dismiss the other 2, but the dust bowl migrant picture from the Great Depression always moves me. The children turning away did so because they were ashamed of their homeless & dirty status, when they saw the photographer and her camera. Very moving.


    It was really directed at a particular person, I must say. But with that being said, nothing surprises me about some people today. Hell, some people can't even find Iraq on a labeled map!

    Each of these pictures is significant because they capture a moment during a particular time and place on a very particular subject in a down to Earth manner.
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    Aug 20, 2011 10:26 PM GMT
    Columbusite777 saidEach of these pictures is significant because they capture a moment during a particular time and place on a very particular subject in a down to Earth manner.

    And thank you for sharing them, they are indeed very important, 20th Century icons if we are not to forget our history. And God help us, repeat the scenes in those 3 photos. (Extermination camps, racial segregation, and economic collapse)
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    Aug 20, 2011 10:31 PM GMT
    I love the photograph, it has an effervescent fizz about it, a real joie de vivre that seems to be missing from modern photographs.

    Isn't everyone smart? Can you imagine everyone dressing like that now?

    Italians are wonderful people.
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    Aug 20, 2011 10:38 PM GMT
    Why can't people take their stupid opinions out of a post like this? Why does everything have to turn into a political debate? JESUS.

    I'll let the hater get back to his steroids.

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    OP, thank you for positing this. I really enjoyed reading it!

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    Aug 20, 2011 10:42 PM GMT
    Thought this was a great post. I recognised the photo, but didn't realise the backstory behind it. I think that's one of the great things about RJ... people post all sorts of things, so you're not just learning new stuff about how to be a meat-head (if I was I'd ask the douche bag from LA from up above.. )

    It's incredible that a woman of her age just packed up and went traveling in Europe alone back then so soon after the War as well. Even today many women would be very hesitant to do such a thing. Hell, My family freaked out when I went backpacking around Morocco a year ago.. Thought that a little gay American in the "Moose-lim" countries would get kidnapped or something.

    Anyway, thanks for a very fun, different, and culturally in-touch post!
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    Aug 20, 2011 11:20 PM GMT
    Thanks everyone! Well, ALMOST everyone.

    If he had been kinder in his reply and said something like, "I don't understand what the big deal is about the picture. Could you tell me why?" or "This is just a picture of a lady walking down the street with men." or the something similar, I would have responded politely and thoughtfully. But...he decided NOT to do that. Shame on him.
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    Aug 21, 2011 12:57 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    Cash said
    MindAndMatter saidMaybe you should nominate her for a Nobel Peace Prize, given that she's so "incredible", and, I might add, that she looks so good for her age, as you say. If that's what you call "critical thinking", good luck finding your way back to the short bus, where you belong.

    The truth is you posted this because you identify with her. You wish you could be prancing around Europe as a young, fresh-faced American girl, getting all the hoots and hollers of young men on the corner. It captured your imagination and made you all tingly inside. And that's okay. But let's call it what it is.



    This really gets to you doesn't it?


    Quick, someone post something about a big musclebound steroid using self absorbed man to quell the tension in this thread and also to command 'respect'.


    ** advaya cats a spell**

    vita, mortis, careooo

    *zzzshoowshh*

    Casting-a-Spell-of-Death.jpg

    *spell failed*
  • conquer

    Posts: 305

    Aug 21, 2011 1:10 AM GMT
    opinions are like a**holes, everyone's got one. the minute you put something up here for viewing you're going to get someone's pov