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Ruth Orkin

Photographer / Filmmaker

Born: 3 September 1921
Died: 16 January 1985 (cancer)
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Best known as: Photographer of An American Girl in Italy
Ruth Orkin was a celebrated American photographer, known mostly for photos from her New York City apartment and for her 1951 photograph An American Girl in Italy. Orkin grew up in Hollywood, the daughter of a silent movie actress. When she was eighteen she made national headlines when she rode a bicycle from Los Angeles to New York for the 1939 World's Fair. She stayed in New York City and eventually became a regular contributor of photos to top journals and magazines. She traveled to Israel and Europe in the 1950s and in 1952 she photographed and edited Little Fugitive, an Oscar-nominated film she made with her husband, Morris Engel. Orkin is best known for her naturalistic urban portrayals of Europeans and New Yorkers in the '40s, '50s and '60s, and for a series of photos she took from her New York City apartment with a view of Central Park (A World Through My Window, 1978 and More Pictures From My Window, 1983). She died of cancer in 1985.

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