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Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti Paperback – 12 Mar 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 398 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (12 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520235142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520235144
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,435,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Interesting, frustrating, saddening. Interesting because Modotti did inhabit many different lives; frustrating because so many questions are left unanswered here; saddening because in her effort to do 'good' for the Larger World, Modotti was directly or indirectly responsible for so much pain."--Carolyn See, "Washington Post

About the Author

Patricia Albers is a writer and independent curator who has also worked as a museum administrator. In 1996 she organized the exhibition Dear Vocio: Photographs by Tina Modotti. And in 2000 she curated Tina Modotti and the Mexican Renaissance, which traveled in Europe.

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BY NINE O'CLOCK, Mexico City's Artes Street lies bathed in moonlight and nearly silent. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The title 'Shadows, Fire and Snow' comes from a dedication by Pablo Neruda, and Tina Modotti was a European artist who left her mark on the blossoming Twentieth Century Culture of Mexico, and to some extent across both North and South American continents. I read this book whilst travelling to Udine, Modotti's birthplace in Friuli, and this was a perfect introduction to her life, but also a window into a world that accommodated towering cultural icons such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Edward Weston as well as less well-known but equally fascinating figures like Dolores del Rio, Pablo O'Higgins and Julio Antonio Mella.
The book rests heavily on the premise that it was his brutal murder in Mexico City that was a watershed moment of tragedy in Modotti's life, but fails to make a firm conclusion as to who might have been responsible (many other commentators have no such reservations). In this respect it is true to say that Albers's biography is a well-considered and objective project that is rewarding to anybody interested in Mexican cultural history, the history of photography or the way in which European culture interacted with Mexico in this time.
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By A Customer on 26 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
Tina Modotti had a fascinating life and she is a great role model for women because of her independence and strength. I think this book does not really make her come alive and concentrated too much on her lovers. I had read a lot of the details on Tina's life in other books on her and I didn't like the way the author uses facile, pop psychology to explain a very complex woman.
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By A Customer on 28 April 1999
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has followed the Modotti saga for several years, I was struck by the depth and beauty of Albers' rendering of Tina Modotti's complex life. Shadows, Fire, Snow is a joy to read!
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By A Customer on 5 May 1999
Format: Hardcover
Finally! At last, Tina Modotti's fascinating life is fully realized in print! Albers' attentive eye coupled with the gorgeous photos make this an incomparable experience.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A person worth reading about! 2 Jan. 2000
By sivin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"I look upon people now not in terms of race...but in terms of classes...," wrote Tina Modotti to a friend towards the end of this excellent biography. A complex woman with many passions, Modotti's life is described by Patricia Albers in vibrant terms, totally capturing the reader's attention and taking that reader on a journey through the Italy of Modotti's childhood to the United States and finally Mexico, her chosen home. Along the way Modotti's relationships with such artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is explored as well as with other notables of her time. Through Albers' exploration of her subject, the reader discovers the evolution of Modotti from actress to noted photographer to active politico. Because of Modotti's many facets the book would be an excellent gift choice. This is a story that makes the reader want to snuggle up in a comfortable chair on a rainy day and read until the sun comes out. It is well-written, informative, colorful and very human.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A person worth reading about! 2 Jan. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"I look upon people now not in terms of race...but in terms of classes..." wrote Tina Modotti to a friend towards the end of this excellent biography. A complex woman with many passions, Modotti's life is described by Patricia Albers in vibrant terms, totally capturing the reader's attention and taking that reader on a journey through the Italy of Modotti's childhood to the United States and finally Mexico, her chosen home. Along the way Modotti's relationships with such artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is explored as well as with other notables of her time. Through Albers' exploration of her subject, the reader discovers the evolution of Modotti from actress to noted photographer to active politico. Because of Modotti's many facets the book would be an excellent gift choice. This is a story that makes the reader want to snuggle up in a comfortable chair on a rainy day and read until the sun comes out. It is well-written, informative, colorful and very human.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Dull writing style 24 July 2004
By Justine Cardello - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to read a good book about Tina Modotti, but Albers writing style is so dull, and so flat, I barely made it through chapters. She goes into tedious detail, and I have not gotten any feel at all for Tina. Fortunately, I took the book out of the library, and will return it tomorrow. Perhaps I will try another author, but this is really a great disappointment.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Tina Modotti's Life with Historical Context 17 Jan. 2005
By bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Tina is fascinating. The author gives a lot of history which is necessary to understand Tina..from SF North Beach to LA to Mexico City. Very insightful about Communist party of 20's/30's and sets up the scenario for membership and activism. Very good book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Sad Story 28 Dec. 2009
By Loves the View - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This photographer should be more famous. The photos in the book are outstanding and equal to or better than Evans, Weston, Lange, etc., all of whom achieved fame for being pioneers in this field. While her career was short, the photos in this book show breakthroughs in style and content.

Where did her life get broken? Weston seems to use her as an assistant even as her work (in my opinion) eclipses his. Was it the struggle for recognition in her art? Was she seen more of an actress or bohemian hostess than a serious artist? Was it the trauma of having two lovers dying essentially in her arms? Was it an inability to forget her childhood poverty? Was it a quest for paternal approval? (Giuseppe Modotti spawned a host of radical children.) After the horror of being accused of Julio's murder was Vittorio her only alternative?

This is an incredibly provocative story. The story of Jack Reed has probably been glamorized beyond all recognition. Is this the sorry female equivalent?

I'd have liked more analysis and less flourish in the writing style. Given the scale of original research analysis might have to be something for the next scholar. As to the writing style here are two examples: p. 154: "Ben and Bumpo were working stiffs with a handsome sulk about them" and p. 240 "Although the sun flirted with Berlin, cold stung their cheeks as the threesome strolled the banks of the Spree River."

There is a lot here for anyone interested in photographers, the bohemian lifestyle Mexico City in the early 20th century or the fate of idealists who joined the communist cause. I recommend it for readers with these interests.
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