top of page

Ruth Orkin (Septmeber 3rd, 1921 - January 16th, 1985) was an American photographer, filmmaker, and photojournalist spending her time between New York City and Hollwood. She was born in Boston but grew up in Hollywood. She would eventually go on to receive her first camera in 1931. Her first camera was a 39 cent Unisex and with this camera she began experimenting with photography and capturing moments of her teachers and friends at school. At the age of 17, in 1939, she biked across the country from Los Angeles to NYC. She finished the trip over three weeks time and photographed along the way. She attended Los Angeles City College for a while for photojournalism and later would join the  Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps during World War II. In 1943, she moved to New York City in the hopes to pursue a career in freelance photojournalism. It is during this time that she traveled internationally taking photographs which is when her most recognizable photo was created. Her most famous work is “An American Girl in Italy”. The subject of this photo was 23 year old Ninalee Craig, known then as Jinx Allen. 

The photo was a part of a series titled, “Don’t Be Afraid to Travel Alone”. 


Ruth Orkin’s work is an inspiration to me because, much like a lot of the women on this list, she is incredible at capturing mundane moments, Every day things that just so happen to be caught beautifully on camera.

All work courteous of Ruth Orkin.

bottom of page