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Tina Modotti (Phaidon 55's) [Paperback]

Margaret Hooks Tangeman , Tina Modotti

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Book Description

1 May 2002 Phaidon 55's
This volume - investigating the work of a particular photographer, in this case, Tina Modotti - comprises a 4000-word essay by an expert in the field, 55 photographs presented chronologically, each with a commentary, and a biography of the featured photographer.

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About the Author

Margaret Hooks writes on fine art and photography for numerous journals, including ARTNews and Afterimage. Her publications include the award-winning biography Tina Modotti: Radical Photographer (2000), Tina Modotti: Photographer and Revolutionary (1993) and Frida Kahlo: Portraits of an Icon (2003). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master of Photography, a Mistress of Weston 19 Dec 2004
By Interplanetary Funksmanship - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This very handsomely printed volume by Aperture of Tina Modotti presents an eclectic collection of her photographs, mostly taken in the mid-to-late 1920s in Mexico. Italian-born, Modotti emigrated to the United States, and then to Mexico, during which time she had an extended affair with famed photographer Edward Weston, for whom Modotti also modeled for his nude studies. Partially through Weston's influence, model and actress Tina turned her talents to photography, and the world has been better for it.

Because of her contact with other artists in Mexico, including Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Modotti's photographic interests spread far afield. Thus, while her work lacks the singular vision of Weston's, her shrugging the cloak of purism revealed instead a versatile photographer and artist. Personally, I find her work more enjoyable than Weston's, though her career was much more short-lived.

Unfortunately for the world, political unrest and circumstances forced her to flee to Soviet Russia. An avowed communist, Modotti spent her time after 1931 helping political dissidents throughout Europe and later aided the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Because the rigid Stalinist regime had no use for her highly-stylized photography, she put her camera down upon arriving in Russia and never picked it up again.

In 1939, she slipped back into Mexico, from which she had been forcibly exiled, but in early 1942, died of a purported heart attack, just as she was planning to resume her photography.

Many of Modotti's photographs would be regarded as "derivative" by some of today's more cynical critics. Examples include plates of Jean Charlot, 1924 (reminiscent of August Sander), Roses, 1925 (see painter Georgia O'Keefe), Police puppets, 1929 (Man Ray), Mella's typewriter, 1928 (Albert Renger-Patzsch), and Wine Glasses, 1925 (Laszlo Moholy-Nagy). Modotti's photographs themselves are nonetheless strikingly graphic and uniformly excellent.

Other photographs in this book, particularly here women of Tehuantepec bear her stamp alone, and her photographs of Mexican laborers and sundry elements of the social landscape, such as photographs of telephone wires and posters predate work in a similar vein by Walker Evans. Clearly, Modotti was quite an influence on the quintessential American photographer.

If only Modotti had been a greedy capitalist instead of a selfless communist, then she would have left so much more material for posterity. As it stands, though, her body of work is a testament to a great creative mind.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful photographer, Fascinating life 22 May 2000
By rachel calderon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I really enjoyed this lovely book of Tina Modotti's photographs. I thought the selection was quite unigue, not the usual ones I've seen reproduced in other books. In fact several of the photos I'd never seen before. Also the essay helped me put her work in context by showing how she developed as a photographer. To my mind she certainly was a master of photography, as well as a fascinating woman. A good book, at a great price!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just good ... but Great! 13 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Tina Modotti was not only a good photographer, she was a GREAT one! I don't think we would even know who she was today if it wasn't for her wonderful photographs. I loved this little book and it's a perfect companion to Margaret Hooks' excellent biography: Tina Modotti, Photographer and revolutionary. All Tina fans should have this!
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good book from Phaidon 3 April 2011
By Richard J. Naylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you know the series you pretty much know what to expect. If you like the artist you'll like the book. To me, Tina Modotti is a wonderful photographer who lived a somewhat tragic life.
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