Ninalee Craig obituary in the Washington Post

Posted by: on February 3, 2019


The 1951 image became a rallying cry against sexual harassment, but Mrs. Craig said it was “a symbol of a woman having an absolutely wonderful time.”
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Ninalee Craig Obituary in The New York Times

Posted by: on February 3, 2019


Ms. Craig reveled in her starring role in Ruth Orkin’s “American Girl in Italy” and said she wasn’t the least bit offended by the men ogling her.
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Ninalee Craig ‘the American Girl in Italy’ passes away…

Posted by: on February 3, 2019

Mary Engel – May 3, 2018

I am very sorry to share the sad news that Ninalee Craig (otherwise known as Jinx, as I called her) passed away yesterday at the age of 90 in Toronto. Jinx was the subject of my mother’s best known image, “American Girl in Italy” but she was much more than that to me. She was larger than life, full of energy and passionate about everything. Jinx was the surrogate mother, aunt, favorite relative all rolled into one. She was strong, smart, elegant and the female role model I craved and adored. She was interested in everything I did, and was always delighted to hear about Zac’s latest activities.

We shared many wonderful dinners, visits, openings, and attended Broadway shows. We had a marvelous week in Toronto together to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the photograph. There was a wonderful exhibit at Stephen Bulger Gallery, an amazing appearance on AM Canada, and a terrific Italian dinner party at Grano! A week I will never forget.

She loved her family, loved to travel, loved the opera, her hometown of Toronto, and of course Italy! A special bond was formed first with my mom because of the photograph and chance meeting at their hotel in Florence and the bond continued between us until yesterday…I had emailed her to show her Zac’s yearbook page and some new totes, and she emailed me back just 10 days ago, and said:


Our hundreds of emails, letters and photos will always be there for me, and the photo will live on for future generations. I will miss her terribly, but the fond memories and many laughs will always remain…Condolences to Noel, Brooks and Alex and the rest of their families…Much love always, Mary ❤️

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Posted by: on April 7, 2018


by Richard Brody – March 26, 2018
Excerpt from article about Steven Soderbergh
Soderbergh’s technical innovation and his vigorously imaginative deployment of it are at the core of the tradition of independent filmmaking. On April 8th, the centenary of the director and photographer Morris Engel, Metrograph will show his three features, including the first, “Little Fugitive,” which François Truffaut credited as a key inspiration of the French New Wave. The movie, which Engel made in 1952, with Ruth Orkin (they married in the course of production) and Ray Ashley, is the story of a young boy in Brooklyn who, tricked into thinking that he has killed his brother, flees home and reaches Coney Island. For the purpose of this film, Engel, who did his own cinematography, designed a 35-mm. movie camera to what he considered the requirements of the project—a camera that was both lightweight and didn’t need to be held up to his eye for framing. It hung from a strap and he looked down at its viewfinder, allowing him to film inconspicuously in public and to move both freely and unobtrusively. (Jean-Luc Godard later wrote to Engel in the hope of borrowing the camera, and, in the nineteen-seventies, he sought to produce, to his specifications, a similarly lightweight and portable 35-mm. camera.) 


The Self-Dramatizing Style of Morris Engel

A one-day retrospective traces how the filmmaker’s struggles informed generations of independent cinema.

The techniques and styles of American independent filmmaking owe much to the work of Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin, which gets a one-day retrospective at Metrograph on April 8, the centenary of Engel’s birth (he died in 2005). In 1952, Engel and Orkin, who worked as photographers, co-directed, with their friend Ray Ashley, the vastly influential independent film “Little Fugitive”; they married during the course of its production. Despite its acclaim (the filmmakers received an Oscar nomination for the story, and the film was later cited by François Truffaut as an inspiration for the French New Wave), the couple had trouble finding money for their second film, “Lovers and Lollipops.” Engel also struggled to finance the 1958 feature “Weddings and Babies,” which he made without Orkin’s participation (she had returned to still photography), and which dramatizes the difficulties faced by a couple planning to marry and make independent films. It’s a seminal entry in the now-familiar genre of an aspiring filmmaker’s first-person story.
For “Weddings and Babies,” Engel did his own cinematography using a handheld camera, made to his specifications, that was outfitted to record synchronous sound—a major innovation that he deployed to substantial dramatic ends and that also plays an onscreen role in the story. The title refers to the storefront studio of a commercial photographer named Al (John Myhers), who runs it with his girlfriend, Bea (Viveca Lindfors). They’ve been together for three years, and Bea, who’s about to turn thirty, is impatient to get married. But the thirty-four-year-old Al, who dreams of making films, sinks his bankroll—on which he and Bea could have started a household—into a new movie camera that, he says, will both help his business and launch his career in filmmaking.
Engel’s technical and dramatic imagination rises to a frenzied pitch in a wrenching discussion between Bea and Al, in which she voices her frustrations with him and with her own life, and he responds with petulant and juvenile indignation. Lacerating domestic battles such as this one, filmed with the kind of confrontational intimacy that Engel’s equipment enabled, would soon be a defining trait of independent filmmaking. Moreover, a pair of tragicomic scenes centered on the fragility of Al’s equipment set a template for generations of self-dramatizing filmmakers. 
This article appears in other versions of the April 9, 2018, issue, with the headline “Work-Life Balance.
AIPAD Show – April 5 – 8
Annual photography show at Pier 94. Several galleries will have Morris Engel’s photographs at their booths. Stephen Daiter Gallery from Chicago will display three of Morris’ photos as part of a Photo League show. His work is also included in a new catalog “NOTED PHOTOS: A Selection of Vintage Photographs from The Photo League.” In addition, Howard Greenberg Gallery, Richard Moore and PDNB Gallery will have some of his photos available.
The Screening Room at AIPAD 
I curated a film program for AIPAD, and Morris Engel: The Independent and Ruth Orkin: Frames of Life will be playing throughout the show in The Screening Room. 
MORRIS ENGEL RUTH ORKIN – OUTSIDE From Street Photography to Filmmaking published by Carlotta Films (2014) will be available at Distributed Art Publishers at AIPAD, or online at or 

The Films of Morris Engel box set is available from Kino Lorber. Look for a new Blu-ray box set that will be released soon.
Morris Engel will have a vintage photograph in the Bonhams auction on April 6, and Paddle 8 will feature two of his photographs in their online sale that begins on April 12. 
Museum of Modern Art, MoMA
Morris Engel’s unreleased feature film from 1968, “I Need a Ride to California” has been restored by MoMA and will be shown next year at MoMA. 
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National Museum of African American History and Culture

Posted by: on September 22, 2017

I am pleased to announce that two unseen Ruth Orkin photographs taken at Penn Station in NYC in 1948 are currently in the EVERYDAY BEAUTY exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Another Orkin photo of Marian Anderson and Leonard Bernstein is in a video installation.

Everyday Beauty is the inaugural exhibition in the Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA). The exhibit uses the lenses of history

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CNN Article about Kathrine Switzer

Posted by: on September 22, 2017…/boston-marathon-kathrine-sw…/index.html

Wonderful story about the fearless and inspirational Kathrine Switzer who is running in the Boston Marathon today 50 years later! Ruth Orkin captured her when she was proud to be a woman in the race in NYC which she won in 1974, and wore a dress to prove it!

Photo below right: Kathrine Switzer, 1974 NYC Marathon, copyright Ruth Orkin

  • 1st woman to officially run Boston Marathon to do it again 50 years later
      See more at CNN.COM

    Katherine Switzer, NYC Marathon, 1974

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Eyes on Main Street

Posted by: on September 22, 2017

Ruth Orkin’s photograph “Comic Book Readers, NYC, 1947” included in recent exhibit in Wilson, North Carolina.

photography festival downtown wilson main street 2016
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new book Flaneuse by Lauren Elkin

Posted by: on September 22, 2017

Ruth Orkin’s photograph AMERICAN GIRL IN ITALY is included in this new book.…/rev…/flaneuse-by-lauren-elkin.html

Lauren Elkin’s “Flaneuse” is a tribute to the pleasures of aimless urban wandering and female style.
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CNN article – The Story behind ‘American Girl in Italy’

Posted by: on September 22, 2017
The woman featured in Ruth Orkin’s iconic photo sets the record straight.
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Howard Greenberg Gallery – The Photo League exhibition

Posted by: on September 22, 2017

Ruth Orkin and Morris Engel’s photos included in exhibition about The Photo League at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in January, 2017

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