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La Fábrica

Paperback, 6 x 9 in. / 288 pgs / 130 bw.

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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2017 p. 42   

ISBN 9788416248834 TRADE
List Price: $32.00 CDN $42.50 GBP £27.00

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The critically acclaimed portrayal of Tina Modotti’s life and work, now back in print


A long-overdue reissue of the classic biography of Tina Modotti, photographer, model, actress, and revolutionary political activist.
  • Tina Modotti was an Italian photographer, model, actress, and revolutionary political activist. Born in Italy, Tina Modotti (1896-1942) immigrated to California when she was 16 and moved form San Francisco to LA to be an actress in silent movies: she often played the "Femme Fatale". She became part of the Bohemian circle: her lover Edward Weston taught her photography, and they moved to Mexico together. In Mexico, Modotti documented the Mexican mural movement, befriending Diego Rivera and joing the Mexican Communist Party. She died at the age of 45 on her way home in a taxi from a dinner with Pablo Neruda, under what is viewed by some as suspicious circumstances. Important collections of her work are at MoMA, SFMoMA, the MET and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • PUBLICATION HISTORY: Originally published in the US by Harper Collins in 1993 and reissued in 1993, 1995 & 2000 by Da Cappo. Receiving rave reviews, the book has been translated into 7 languages.
  • This new edition is a smaller format paperback priced at $32.00.
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARGARET HOOKS has written extensively on the life and work of artists, among them Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti and Edward James. Her writing has appeared in Vogue, The Guardian, Afterimage, Elle, and The Observer. Her books include Tina Modotti: Masters of Photography (New York, Aperture, 1999); Tina Modotti (London, Phaidon Press, 2005); Frida Kahlo: Portrait of an Icon (Madrid,Turner/London,Bloomsbury/New York, D.A.P., 2003); and Surreal Eden (New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2007).



Tina Modotti: Photographer & Revolutionary

By Margaret Hooks.

Tina Modotti: Photographer & Revolutionary

Between politics and form: the life and work of Tina Modotti

The apt subtitle of this award-winning biography, Photographer & Revolutionary, sums up the creative tensions that characterized Tina Modotti’s life and brief photographic career. Active as a photographer for only nine years, Modotti was pulled between formal and social concerns. Producing striking modernist compositions of everyday objects, photojournalism of poverty and conflict, and portraits of celebrities and common people alike, Modotti balanced political concerns with formal rigor.

First published in 1993 and long out of print, Tina Modotti: Photographer & Revolutionary is the definitive portrayal of Modotti’s life and work. Few photographers are more deserving of a biographical treatment than Modotti, whose work as an actress and artist’s model introduced her to Edward Weston, who was to become her lover. Soon after she arrived in Mexico City with Weston, Modotti became increasingly politicized, working for the communist newspaper El Machete and establishing herself as the go-to photographer for the Mexican Muralist movement. The book includes extensive archival material, interviews with Modotti’s contemporaries and many rare photographs.

Margaret Hooks has written extensively on the life and work of artists, among them Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Tina Modotti, Max Ernst and Edward James. Her recent writing provides new insight into the relationship and collaborative works of the Surrealist painters Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Tina Modotti: Photographer & Revolutionary.'


The New York Times Lens Blog

Maurice Berger

Bringing Ms. Modotti out from Mr. Weston’s shadow, Ms. Hooks detailed her life as an artist, activist and woman at the height of Mexican muralism, where Bohemia met political revolution through a whirlwind of artistic expression.

Tina Modotti: Photographer & Revolutionary

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EXCERPT from the chapter, 'Mexican Odyssey'

Tina was not especially fond of dancing, but Edward loved it and, after a few drinks, became just ‘vulgar’ enough to dance suggestively with Nahui Olin and Dr Matthias, shocking the starchy Frau Goldschmidt. Indeed, Weston loved dancing as much as he loved masquerades and cross-dressing. He needed little persuasion to don women’s clothes and frolic at costume parties. For a Mardi Gras party held at their home in 1924, Tina and Edward exchanged clothing:

She smoked my pipe and bound down her breasts, while I wore a pair of cotton ones with pink pointed buttons for nipples. We waited for the crowd to gather and then appeared from the street, she carrying my Graflex and I hanging on her arm. The Ku Klux Klan surrounded us and I very properly fainted away. We imitated each other’s gestures. She led me in dancing, and for the first few moments everyone was baffled. After a while I indulged in exaggerations, flaunted my breasts and exposed my pink gartered legs most indecently. Lupe was enraged by my breasts, punched at them, tried to tear them loose, told me I was sin verguenza – without shame ...

The parties were a prelude to outrageous nights on the town. The rough-and-tumble, working-class dance halls, where dapper, Cuban band leaders’ all-black orchestras played the torrid rhythms of danzón, tango and rumba to the pulsing bodies of “maids, seamstresses, rumba butterflies, workers and ruffians,” were not to be missed. In these truly unruly places, everyone was searched for weapons as they entered and police dubbed one the “Bucket of Blood” because of the frequent shoot-outs, “Throwing lit cigarettes on dance floor prohibited, because the ladies burn their feet” read the sign above the dance floor at the Salón México, where sleazy politicians mixed freely with writers, journalists and rumba singers.

One evening, Paca Toor suggested trying the Gran Salón Azteca. It was

a bizarre place, a big perspiring hall of shabby folk, though the girls, however stained their hands from scrubbing floors or wrapping soap or filling cartridges at the national munitions works, usually managed to dress up with cheap rayon beaded dresses, clockwork stockings and fancy bow garters, and put plenty of grease in their shiny black hair.

Tina and Edward were willing and, along with Anita Brenner, Jean Charlot, Federico Marín and a few others, arrived at a hall blaring out the sounds of jazz and danzón. The locals eyed the strange group of gringos curiously and Paca, perhaps already a little tipsy, shocked the leader of the orchestra by requesting something as European as a waltz! They were nearly run out of the place by the booing and hissing, but the bandleader summoned his musicians to the occasion with his baton, and Paca had her waltz. - Margaret Hooks



Oozing with potency: Margaret Hooks' Tina Modotti Biography

Oozing with potency: Margaret Hooks' Tina Modotti Biography

Calla Lilies (c.1925) is reproduced from Tina Modotti: Photographer & Revolutionary, Margaret Hooks’ page-turner of a biography, back in print at last. She describes Modotti and Edward Weston’s 1923 arrival in Mexico. “The hated middle-class morality of the United States was now behind them and they made no concessions to it. They used their own names, refusing to pose as a married couple, and no-one in hotels or elsewhere questioned why Tina Modotti and Edward Weston were living together or sharing a room. The dreaded Ku Klux Klan would not bother them here… Tina and Edward were also thrilled that Prohibition stopped at the Rio Grande, and Weston in particular showed an intense interest in local bars, called pulquerias after the traditional brew, pulque, a maguey-cactus, distilled, green mash that oozed with alcoholic potency.” continue to blog


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