Robert Frank’s Elevator Girl, 50 years later

There’s a short, sweet story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” about a woman who recognized herself in a photo she saw in an exhibition of the photos from Robert Frank’s The Americans. In Jack Kerouac’s introduction to the book, he wrote, “That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons, what’s her name and address?”

Sharon Collins is the elevator girl of Robert Frank’s famous image from The Americans.
Robert Frank/Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

50 years later, Sharon Collins, the girl in the photo, spoke with NPR about her discovery which startled and pleased her, because she didn’t remember Frank taking the picture (although his contact sheet shows her hamming it up for his camera in several frames of film after this iconic shot). You can listen to her interview by clicking on the link below. And, be sure to check out the full written article at


A half-century later, Collins poses in a recreation of the scene.
Ian Padgham/SFMOMA

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