Tina Modotti

Discussion in 'Discussing a ****** Photograph' started by tim atherton, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    I just came across this wonderful picture - what treat to find it (I'm sure it must be in my book of Modotti's work, but I'd never noticed it):

    [​IMG]

    I think there must be a whole intriguing sub-genre of "hands photography"
     
  2. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    The puppeteer's hands? I've seen this before.

    I'm not a big fan of her photography but she did lead an interesting life and her influence on Weston is undeniable.
     
  3. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    These look like puppet strings etc. Are they?
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I have to wonder if the hands are those of Modotti's friend Rene D'Harnoncourt, who posed for her famous portrait of him as a marionette.

    (Sorry about the beensy size of the picture. It was the only copy I could find on the web.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2008
  5. Q17

    Q17 Member

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    Some of my favorite include Stieglitz' images of O'Keeffe's hands...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    =michelle=
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Obviously a puppeteer's hands but one who has got into a tangle with the strings, suggesting a novice or someone trying a particularly difficult maneouvre and failing. It might be a significant picture but only if you know the context. Otherwise it is just another shot of hands which anyone could have taken.

    If an APUGer had put this into his /her gallery without explanation would it have merited any more than a passing glance?

    pentaxuser
     
  7. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    certainly
     
  8. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    That is a wonderful photo indeed Tim. I'd not seen it before either. Thanks.

    Her images of hands (and feet too) are wonderous. Especially the iconic 'Hands pressed on a Tool'.

    Her photography was so driven by her political agenda and symbolism that it eventually detracts a little, for me. But as a result there are fantastic and iconic images. They can stand so well on their own.

    I think this is one of those.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    This is a great photograph. Very expressive. If this was in the the gallery I would have expressed this same thing.
     
  10. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I agree that Modotti's photography started out showing great promise, but became too obviously political. And I think that knowledge may lead me astray with this image - is there political symbolism in the hands tangled in string? If the photograph were made by someone I didn't know so much about, I may be able to see the image better for itself.

    As it is, I find the composition interesting - the position of and detail in the hands - the pattern of light and dark in the background.

    Tina certainly did lead an interesting life. Though I would disagree with her politics, I have to admire someone who worked so hard for what she believed in.
    juan
     
  11. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Just an FYI, a Modotti photograph similar to this one recently sold in auction for $219K. The current issue of B&W magazine shows the picture.
     
  12. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

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    here's another equally as wonderful photograph - it's all about the hands imo


    [​IMG]

    dorothea lange
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2006
  13. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    What a wonderful work. I am a Tina fan. She had a wonderful eye and a wonderful mind. I love that Edward was a teacher. We are the richer for it.
     
  14. catem

    catem Member

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    I'm also a fan of Tina Modotti, especially her earlier, less overtly political work (though some of that is pleasing too, especially on the level of abstract). She had an extraordinary eye for the abstract beauty of the everyday, whether telegraph wires, or seats in a stadium or parts of people's bodies. She seems very modern in that regard. It's true that she learnt from Weston initially and she was his pupil, but I think at last she is being seen as far greater than this; initially her reputation was as his pupil (and lover of course) and as someone who met a dubious fate in a taxi, but I think her true greatness is now realised - Weston learnt from her aswell, and I have to say her original prints are simply stunning (exhibited in London recently). For her everyday objects stand by themselves, she celebrates their 'itness'; they don't need to be anything else (like a woman's form). I like that.

    For me the puppeteer's hands work on different levels - the simple beauty of (ageing) hands, and the craft they are capable of: I don't see chaos, certainly not ineptness, but a careful control - a balance of tension and looseness. The hands hold the strings, loosely but with precise care, the fingers control absolutely the taut strings below which will in turn control the movements of the puppet. Although the hands are not old, they are 'mature' - strong and powerful but capable of delicacy also. The strings echo the lines of the veins in the hands. The shadows work well.

    Very simple - but quite deep, and quite beautiful aswell.

    Cate
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2006