Tina Modotti

I cannot, as you [Edward Weston] once proposed to me—“solve the problem of life by losing myself in the problem of art”… in my case, life is always struggling to predominate and art naturally suffers.  — Tina Modotti

Tina Modotti along with Manuel Álvarez Bravo are probably two of the most influential photographer of the 20th century in Mexico and Latin America. Tina was born in Italy in 1896 and died in Mexico City in 1942, she started her fine art and documentary photography work in the 1920s in Mexico while working with Edward Weston as his assistant.

According to Álvarez Bravo,  Modotti divided her career as a photographer into two distinct categories: “Romantic” and “Revolutionary”. So, these two lines can be clearly seen in her work.

According to Wikipedia Modotti’s work was rediscovered in the United States when 90 vintage prints were exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1996, since then the pop singer Madonna has become one of major collector´s of Modotti´s work.

Prior to the exhibition in the USA, the work of Modotti was shown all around the world, including several exhibitions in Europe. Today the average price of a Moddoti´s print range in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Below some of my favorite Modotti’s images:

ol1Woman with Olla, 1926

Woman with Olla (Mujer Con Olla), this is one of most representative images of Moddoti, probably taken in Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico where she photographed several local women of that region of Mexico. The delicate composition and forms in this image along with the subtle framing of the woman’s profile in the background make it very special.

images (4)

Mother and Child, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1929

Mother and Child (Madre e Hijo), as all Modotti’s works this image has a delicate composition besides of being representative of the strong character of the “Tehuanas” — that is the generic term to refer to the native women of that region.

phoca_thumb_l_001 alcatracesCalla lilies, Mexico City, 1925

Callas Lilies, (Alcatreces), this is a work of what Álvarez Bravo calls the “romantic”  period of Modotti; still under the influence of Weston, she focuses in composition, forms, clarity, etc. Modottti’s prior work is so different that many experts believe that probably this and other similar works of this period were intellectually planned by Weston.

©All images may be protected by copyright. They are posted in this site in accordance with fair use principles:

  1. it is a historically significant artwork
  2. the images are only being used for informational and educational purposes
  3. the image is readily available on the internet
  4. the image is a low-resolution copy of the original artwork and is unsuitable for commercial use


Aperture Masters Of Photography TINA MODOTTI, KÖNEMAN, 1999

Wikipedia – link here

Tina Moddoti MoMA – link here

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