For many people, a photograph can tell its own tale and not so much attention is paid to the frame. But bespoke framing can undoubtedly add plenty of appropriate style to pictures, not least black and white photography that does not juxtapose well with some bright and colourful frames.
If you are looking for vintage black and white photography, one artist to consider is the late Ruth Orkin. Many a photo of New York shows set-piece images of skyscraper construction workers perched in precarious places, but her work in the Big Apple was more diverse than that.
Born in California in 1921, Ruth Orkin first visited New York for the World Fair in 1939 and moved there in 1943. Working initially as a photographer in nightclubs and taking baby portraits, she also produced a number of images on her travels as her career developed, with notable locations including Israel and Italy. She also captured many stars of stage and film as a magazine snapper.
However, the bulk of her work comes from New York, with Orkin marrying fellow photographer and film-maker Morris Engel in the 1950s, with various images of the city’s life shot from their apartment.
This ranged from major events like marathons and political demonstrations through to ordinary life. Many pictures were published in two books called “A World Through My Window” and “More Pictures From My Window.”
While some of her work will have focused on famous faces, the presence of everyday life in so much of her works makes Ruth Orkin’s record of life in New York a notable contrast with the other images of the city.
Just as many fine photographic works of London life focus on the mundane rather than the famous, so it is worth many Ruth Orkin images. Many will be delighted to have one of her framed works on their wall.