Worker's Hands, Mexico

Tina Modotti (American (born in Italy, died in Mexico), 1896–1942)


Image/Sheet: 19.2 x 21.7 cm (7 9/16 x 8 9/16 in.) Mount: 24.4 x 25.8 cm (9 5/8 x 10 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View


Americas, Photography



Tina Modotti’s closely cropped picture of a worker’s dusty hands conveys the realities of hard work. In 1923, the Italian-born film actress accompanied her lover, photographer Edward Weston, to Mexico City, where Weston taught her to use a large-format camera. She worked as his studio assistant, quickly mastering the technique and making striking portraits, close-up images of flowers, and still lifes of her own. Modotti’s compassion for the indigenous culture and political struggles of the Mexican people led her to join the Communist Party in 1927 and to focus on socially concerned subjects, using her camera as a tool to document the proud faces and weathered hands of the peasant laborers, artisans, and revolutionaries of her adopted country.


Signed and dated at lower left on mount "Tina Modotti - 1927"


William L. Schaeffer, New York; purchased November 1985.

Credit Line

Sophie M. Friedman Fund