Collection 1880s–1940s

Tina Modotti. Workers Parade. 1926 534

Gelatin silver print, 8 7/16 × 7 5/16" (21.5 × 18.6 cm). Anonymous gift

Curator, Eva Respini: I'd like to draw your attention to one of Tina Modotti's images, which is called Worker's Parade from 1926. It was taken during a May Day demonstration, and is emblematic of the photographer's involvement in the revolutionary politics of the day in Mexico.

One of the things that really strikes me about this image is that you see no faces. It's taken from a high vantage point and you see this endless sea of hats. The mass really becomes one entity. There's no horizon line. There's no escape in this photograph and the entire photographic plane is filled in this great visual cacophony. And, you know, it's really a classic example of what Modotti has done so well over and over again in her work—combine a modernist aesthetic that is clean lines, and a kind of modernist remove, with her political motivations and her beliefs.

Over the years she associated with radicals in the Communist Party. She eventually joined the Communist Party in 1927, and her political affiliations caused her to be deported from Mexico in 1930. Although Modotti's political beliefs increasingly informed her photographs, all of these photographic prints are incredibly beautiful. I think that attention to aesthetics is something that really remains a constant throughout her career and in her photographs.