Johan Hagemeyer, Tina, 1921 or 1922
A splendid portrait of this beautiful and talented photographer graces the cover of a handsome paperback by Mildred Constatine, associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from 1948 to 1972. She is the author and editor of other titles as well for MOMA and the Smithsonian Institution. The book was designed by legendary designer Massimo Vignelli. (Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1993)
Edward Weston, Tina, Los Angeles, 1921
Patricia Albers is a wrter and independent curator. The book is good, but as an aside, I think the portrait used for the cover is unfortunate. I can't imagine Weston's reason for printing it as an appropriate pose for this dynamic young woman. Such spidery type loses the subtitle by being dropped out of the image and letterspaced as lower case, something frowned upon in the days when typography had rules about legibility and comprehension. Vignelli, above, letterspaced Tina's name across her face, in upper case, causing it to be less legible but effective as a very significant subtitle. (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002)
Tina Modotti, Muchacho with sombrero, Mexico, c.1927
Both this photo and that of the lily below owe much to the influence of her mentor and lover, Weston.
Tina Modotti, Easter lily and bud, c.1925
Photographer unknown, "Anniversary" photograph, Mexico, 1924
The photo was taken as a lark when Tina and Edward first arrived in Mexico and engaged a local photographer agreeable to photographing them as recently newlyweds. He posed them against a church background and they posed rigidly to complete what was blatant mockery on the part of all concerned.
Tina Modotti in the motion picture film, "The Tiger's Coat," 1920
Click on this link for a video clip, courtesy of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Edward Weston, Tina, Mexico, 1923
In this year they arrived in Mexico and leased an "old and beautiful hacienda," as Weston described their temporary home in his Daybook, where they "enjoyed shopping and bargaining."
Edward Weston, Tina on the azotea, Mexico, 1924
Tina was the subject of many dramatic nudes, which you may discover by searching the Internet.
Edward Weston, Tina, Mexico, 1925
Weston made some of his best portraits during their time in Mexico. Click on this YouTube link by eleonor947 for a tape with Spanish music backing up the images. Frames 01:43 and 01:53 are portraits taken by Modotti, the rest are of her.
Diego Rivera, Drawing of Tina, 1926
The famous Mexican muralist and communist sympathizer's reputation as a womanizer, caused many chroniclers of the period to include Modotti among his conquests. She not only posed for him but also photographed his murals for the magazine Mexican Folkways.
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's words are chiseled onto Tina's gravestone:
Tina Modotti, hermana, no duermes, no, no duermes.
Tal vez tu corazón oye crecer la última rosa
de ayer, la última rosa de ayer, la nueva rosa.
Descansa dulcemente, hermana.
Puro es tu dulce nombre, pura es tu frágil vida
de abeja, sombra, fuego, nieve, silencio, espuma,
de acero, línea, polen, se construyó tu férrea,
tu delgada estructura.
Tina Modotti, fotógrafa y revolucionaria italiana.
Udine, 17-08-1896; Ciudad de México, 05-01-1942.
[The reference to revolucionaria describes Tina's devotion to communist philosophy and causes that occupied most of her years in Mexico, Europe and the Soviet Union. Edward Weston, on the other hand, was a fervent anti-communist.]