A Year in Books/Day 183: Tinisima

  • Title: Tinisima A Novel
  • Author: Elena Poniatowska
  • Year Published: 1992/This Edition: 1998 (Penguin Books)
  • Year Purchased: 2004
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: Although she is now one of my favourite photographers, the image that introduced me to Tina Modotti was not by, but rather of, this magnetic and enigmatic woman. It was, of course, an Edward Weston.
    Tina Modotti with her arms raised by Edward Weston (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

    Tina Modotti with her arms raised by Edward Weston (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

    I enjoy his work, but feel a resolute kinship with the art of the woman whose talent he encouraged. Tinisima, in translation from the original Spanish, is a fictionalized account of her turbulent, sacrificial, frustrating, many-faceted life. In a way, it is a more fitting tribute to its mysterious subject than any well-researched biography.

  • Motivation: Having read Patricia Albers’ excellent biography Shadows, Fire, Snow a couple of years earlier, I was interested to see how a fictional account of Modotti’s life would play out.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 171: “Eight picture in one day! She always mulled over each shot, even visited the scene and studied the light at different times of day before shooting; she waited for the exact moment, the click ringing out in the sacred silence. Now he is telling her to press the shutter without thinking about the results, like the unconscious blink of an eye. That is journalism.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8 1/2

A Year in Books/Day 36: Shadows, Fire, Snow

  • Title: Shadows, Fire, Snow The Life of Tina Modotti
  • Author: Patricia Albers
  • Year Published: 1999 (Clarkson Potter/Publishers)
  • Year Purchased: 2002
  • Source: Barnes & Noble clearance rack
  • About: Tina Modotti, though little recognized today, was a woman of many talents: she worked as an actress, artisan, photographer (which is her main claim to immortality) and communist revolutionary. Her fierce abilities, ideals and passions took her from her native Italy to the shores of America, Mexico and Russia.
  • Motivation: I love strong, artistic, intelligent women. Her photography is stunning, never-to-be-forgotten.
  • Times Read: 2
  • Random Excerpt/Page 32: “Meanwhile, the military debacle had cut off communications with the family in Italy, leaving Tina, Mercedes, and Giuseppe frantic with anxiety. Was Tina also experiencing guilt that she had been absorbed in playacting as her loved ones suffered? If so, it was not the last time she would anguish over the thought of art making in the face of human affliction.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10

    English: The white Iris (tina modotti)

    Image via Wikipedia