BLACK & WHITE Sunday: Inspiration & Remembrance

No. My photography skills haven’t suddenly improved. This Black & White Sunday I’d like to share with you one of my favourite B&W photographers, Ruth Orkin. This 1st large image below, simply named ‘American Girl In Italy’ has been part of my life now for many years. It once held position of privilege, hanging larger than life in my lounge, fuelling my dreams and imagination. It currently sits amongst other treasures in my garage waiting for it’s new home.

By no means forgotten, nor abandoned. Just waiting.


Art and photography can impact one on many levels. It fuels the imagination and allows one to dream and travel to places never seen, or always remembered. This image has influenced my life on many levels. It encouraged my dreams of one day travelling to Italy. Encouraged me to travel alone even when my mind was telling me I couldn’t do it. It reminds me to be strong and walk tall, and perhaps to walk a different path and be true to one’s own sense of uniqueness. It reminds me that inner beauty and inner strength is the substance required to make change and have purpose. Being different will always attract attention, whether it be admiration, or mocking. It stands out in the crowd and up to the bullies, and says quietly… I’m here…!

Some years ago, this image became somewhat cliché and over used in the Hairdressers, Cafes & Shoe Shops of Sydney. When art becomes cliché it is easy to overlook it, or reject it, but for me this image will always be a classic. An inspiration, a friend, a reminder. This image also brought me a new blogging friend by way of my first comments on her blog. This image has enriched my life.

It is a constant reminder of the diversity of people, cultures and the freedom of travel. You can't see all the fascinating details here, but the full version is overflowing with gorgeous details of Italian design, architecture & style and takes you on a stroll through the romance of Italy in the 50’s.

An American girl in italy

american girl in italy

An American girl in italy 2

I recently found these further delights by way of these fabulous images below.

All taken in Florence in the early 1950’s, all of the same unique, mesmerizing subject. I also now have a moniker for my inspirational traveller… As unique as the owner herself …

An American girl in italy 2

Jinx in Goggles - Florence 1951

Flirting at the cafe

Flirting at the cafe - florence 1951

Flirting at the cafe

ruth orkin - sitting at statue

Flirting at the cafe

couple in MG - florence 1951

For more fabulous Photography by the talented Ruth Orkin, head over to [this website]


BeingRuby - Shirley 3


Today marks the 34th anniversary of my mother’s death. Jinx here reminds me a lot of my mother. Tall, Brunette [in her younger years], Strength of Purpose and Daring to be herself. I had intended to bring you a post celebrating her life, but it will have to be another time as I’m still searching for the right words and images to do it justice.


B&W Sunday2

Hosted by ‘Anne Marie of Na-Da Farm Life

Pop over there to see other Black & White Sunday participants

Black + White Sunday

Enjoy Your Sunday


IMAGES: Black & Whites – Ruth Orkin Colour Image: belongs to the family library of Being Ruby


Jacqueline @ HOME said...

I think that this is my favourite post of yours. Julie.
I cannot believe that they were taken in the '50's, as they are as current and up to date as they would be today.
She is so beautiful...anyone who can wear that headgear and goggles and get away with it has to be stunning....and, of course Florence is one of my favourite places.I'm sure that I walked down that street, last time I was there.
Beautiful photograph of your Mum, too.As we all said last time you posted photographs of your Mum and Dad, she looks like a film star.Very sad that she died so young but wonderful that you are keeping her memory alive. XXXX

Tamerie Shriver Halliday said...

As usual, lovely photographs. And your mother is lovely, too. She may be gone, but I know she is proud of you!

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

That photograph speaks to me to. It says live life from the inside out..., do what you truly want to do. I think we can never hear that enough.

My mother was also born in the year 1931 and just passed away this last May..., your Mom was really young when she "left".

Julie B. [Holland] said...

Julie , really beautiful! I loved Florence and the Sienna in my travels thru Italy.Her sandles in the photo by fountain are great!They could be worn now without a problem. Looking forward to reading more about you Mum. Have a great Sunday .. Julie in Holland :) ...

Neutral Heaven said...

Wonderful photographs! Bx

Sue said...

I've been blogging a month, and while I thought I was doing it to share some things of my own, I had no idea how much I would learn from the blogs of others. This was wonderful, the images are fresh and stylish, no matter how old they are. Your mother was lovely, and I'm sure that you miss her still.


simon said...

travelling alone, new paths and adventures, belief in oneself, fond memories of loved ones. Art, regardless of its form, should, does inspire. It takes us away from the reality of where we might be at a particular time and gives us dreams and hopes.

The sooner you can find a wall to place her on the better

Love the photos, love the streetscapes....wishing I cold race a Vespa through each street in each photo.


Yolanda said...

She was a beautiful lady. I am glad to have found your blog.

Alicia said...

Please darling Julie your camera skills are wonderful!!!
Im so glad to finally be able to lounge a bit & get back to visiting. I missed a lot but of your blog, I missed you most of all.
A prayer for your mom taken waay too soon. She's watching & you always take her breath away.

Chemin des Muguets said...


I know that when I visit your blog that I will experience such beauty, class and style.

You touched my heart when you mentioned the anniversary of your mother's death. I only just learned two nights ago that a very special old friend had died. It is all so fresh and raw.

Thank you for your friendship and encouragement.



Millie said...

In your inimitable style Julie, another fantastic post. Ruth O. was a true photographic star, thanks for the introduction. I'm sure all our precious Mums are sitting somewhere lovely, smiling & talking about their daughters & this blogging thing that's come into their lives & enriched them beyond all thought.
Millie ^_^

koralee said...

Lovely once again...thank you for introducting me to two very lovely ladies...your mom was beautiful!

Unknown said...

Wonderful photos! and great post! Your Mum will be smiling down on you, Have a sweet Sunday!x

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Julie [in Holland]
I know those sandals are great. Funny isn't it how comtemporary her look feels. Once day I will return to Italy... Julie [In Australia]

Shelley Trbuhovich said...

what a beautiful post, julie, both in relation to photography, ruth orkin and your precious mother. very moving. i'll never look at a black and white photo in the same way again; have always loved them, you just put into words why. x

Greet Lefèvre said...

Wonderful pictures! I love the one at the Café!
Your post is very classy Julie!

Have a nice sunday!


Shellbelle said...

I love B&W, both in photos and in old films. I adore the play of shadows and the feelings they evoke.

Jinx, what a fabulous name for such a beautiful woman. When I look at her flirting at the café the name just suits her.

And as beautiful is the photograph of your mother. It appears you lost her when you yourself was just a young woman and I know that must of been hard.

I am coming up on the eighth anniversary of my mother's passing. My studio is in the room she died in. Some think this is morbid, but I feel her presence here and find it comforting.

Lovely post Julie, simply lovely.

Kalee said...

What a lovely tribute to your mother, she was so beautiful!

I adore your point that good art can be a friend-offering gentle reminders and a warm hug when needed. Great post!

Anne Marie said...

Dear Julie,
I am so sorry for your loss, even after all these years...but I have to say; that is a wonderful image of your mother - she's beautiful..

and those photographs! wow! I love it, and how you described it so poetically -

what can I say: GREAT POST.

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Julie this post is incredible. I have seen the first photo but I must admit I shamelessly forget to think of the person behind the camera. I adore all the images & wish I could be whisked away to that time + place. I too love Florence but it's been since 75' since traveling there D: Darn I'm old.

Your mother was such a beautiful woman & I loved reading that she lived her life being unique with strenght & purpose. She left you with a remarkable example of living life. I never have wanted to fall into the pitfalls of being just one more person, sameness & all. Thank you for sharing her photo & I look forward to the day of reading more about her. You will do her justice as you are such a talented writer. My heart is with you today xx

Anonymous said...

She is stunning.. I love this post. I always learn something new reading your blog, I love that.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my posts, your comments are always so nice and welcome any time.

Have a great sunday,

Carole said...

Julie your posts keep getting better and better. It's so true how images can allow us to dream...transport us to a different place. Magical that way.
You explain it in a way that I feel but can't put down on paper( well on computer)
So sad about your mom leaving you so long ago. I'm sure your tribute will do her justice!

Roberta said...

Thanks for introducing us to the author of these beautiful photos. I've always loved 'An American girl in Italy'. Especially since I could relate to it having gone to Italy at 17! This is exactly how it was in the 70's too! Her work is timeless!
A lovely tribute to your Mom as well 'Ruby'.
xo Roberta said...

Such fun photo's Julie. Have a great week.

The House That A-M Built said...

Oh Julie, these photographs are just beautiful and so is your Mum. My thoughts are with you this week, remembering your precious Mother. I hope the little parcel winging its way to you puts a spring in your step! A-M xx

Kellie Collis said...

I never used to appreciate art. Not sure why... I missed alot. Now i adore it!

Courtney said...

I love the expression on the girl's face in each photo. It's so captivating even when there's so much Italian action going on around her! Your mom is truly beautiful Julie. I think your kind words are a lovely tribute to her.

Lee said...

Julie, what a beautiful story and very fitting tribute to your wonderful mother. God bless. Lee x

vicki archer said...

Julie, these images are just beautiful. A lovely post and heartfelt tribute. xv

count it all joy said...

Oh Julie, this is just beautiful. What a stunning, stylish woman your mother was. My thoughts are with you this week as you remember and celebrate your darling Mum. . Meredith xo.

Made in Persbo...Carina said...

Oh Julie, what lovely photos you show, as always!
Love all of them!

I´m sorry to hear that your mother died young! So sad!

A lots of hugs,

Pearl Maple said...

Beautiful post full of thoughts and ideas and creative inspiration, a wonderful way of celebrating your mother's anniversary.

Samy said...

Beautiful post Julie. What a great tribute, very touching!

Brabourne Farm said...

I think black and white photography is one of the world's wonderful things and Ruth Orkin was certainly an incredible talent. She managed to capture movement and life so brilliantly. Lovely post! Leigh

Sahildeki Ev said...

I keep coming to your blog to comment but its only now it let me do it. This is a great post, but now I cant see the one you wrote after this. Photos there were also exceptionally good Ruby..

Drawn to The Sea said...

34 years is a long time to be without your mother. She must have loved you dearly... I'm guessing you still feel her hugs & know she's smiling when you're happy.

Sweet daydreams,

Renée Finberg said...

these images are great.
i love black & white images.

from the other Dexter Fan,
thank you for commenting.

Jennifer Beaudet said...

Hi Julie,
I just found this post and I'm a bit late. I'm so sorry for your loss of your beautiful mother. I can't imagine how hard that must have been. She sounds like she was a wonderful person, just like you.