Thursday, November 4, 2010

Juxtaposition 2: Tina Modotti

Illustration for a Mexican Song, 1927
If we were to capture the moments of stillness, or windows that reframe what we see, would we, could we preserve time? Isn't that a memory? Is there an art to this juxtaposition of a juxtaposition? And if there is, can it then, actually become art?

The Italian photographer Tina Modotti (born in Udine, 1896-1942) had an incredible knack, at least for my eye and soul, for capturing the ephemeral of the everyday using early photographic tools

Mother and Child, 1929
A noted political activist, artist, model and muse of fellow photographer Edward Weston, Modotti saw weight in the angles, the moments, the humanity, the simplicity, and left a gift that resonates endlessly.

Convent of Tepotzotl├ín, Mexico, 1924 


Modotti focused on still life, architecture, the hands of mothers and laborers, and compositions that could speak, invoke emotions to support a political or humanitarian movement, particularly in Mexico.

Photos courtesy of the MOMA

Juxtaposition: Woman & Horse

If there were a moment in every day to capture what seems inane, or that which is fleeting, what would you capture? Would you start to anticipate the moments? Could you be satisfied with only one moment captured? Would you start to see new angles in old experiences? Would you feel a small lift of freedom?

I am captivated by this photo, not only for its obvious beauty, but because of the juxtaposition and the question of its organic origin. Do you think she kissed the horse? Would she have if she were not so perfectly covered? Was this a candid moment between the model and horse luckily captured by photographer Georges Dambier? Not likely considering it was taken in 1953. And yet it is nearly impossible to coax a horse more than once to be so intrigued. Where is she? What was she doing and what did she do that evening...? Why do we love the juxtaposition?

Photo courtesy of Bonni Benrubi Gallery. Title: Fiona Campbell