Ruth Orkin: In Motion
Curated by Natalie Cooney and Rebecca Rau
Special Thanks to Mary Engel
December 7, 2022 – January 31, 2023
Opening: Thursday, Dec 8, 6-8 pm
New Orleans Photo Alliance is pleased to present Ruth Orkin: In Motion, an exhibition celebrating the works of the pioneering 20th-century photographer and filmmaker Ruth Orkin, curated by Natalie Cooney and Rebecca Rau.
Perhaps best recognized for her series chronicling the experience of traveling alone as a woman, and the iconic image American Girl in Italy, Orkin has a distinct eye for storytelling. Over the course of her career, the photographer captured intimate quotidian moments in her uniquely heartfelt and comedic artistic voice.
Born in 1921, Orkin was an unstoppable force, completing a cross country bike ride from California to New York at the age 17, in which she took memorable portraits and landscapes along the way. Settling in New York for much of her career, Orkin gained attention and clout as a magazine photographer and portraitist in the mid-1940’s. In spite of Orkin’s success as a photographer, she yearned to work as a cinematographer, a field inaccessible to women. She was, however, able to collaborate with her husband, filmmaker Morris Engel, on the iconic 1953 film “Little Fugitive,” credited with sparking the French New Wave.
As a photojournalist, Orkin was commissioned to photograph influential celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock, Leonard Bernstein, Marlon Brando, and Lucille Ball (yet complained of being paid less than her male contemporaries).
Ruth Orkin: In Motion will highlight the cinematic qualities of the photographer’s work and celebrate her untapped potential within the film industry. The exhibition will showcase signed prints from Orkin’s lifetime, as well as never-before-seen images from the Ruth Orkin Archive.
The opening reception will be held Thursday, December 8th from 6 to 8pm as part of the 2022 PhotoNOLA Festival. The exhibition is on view from December 7, 2022 through January 31, 2023. Free and open to the public at The NOPA Center at 7800 Oak Street, New Orleans. To learn more, visit www.photonola.org.