Tina Modotti (August 16, 1896 - January 5, 1942) was an Italian-American photographer, model, actor, and revolutionary political activist for the Communist International organization. Modotti is known for her skillful use of composition and shadow. Her most famous images captured the milieu of Mexico City between the first and second world wars, including portraits of artists and intellectuals such as Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera.
Born in Udine, Italy, Modotti emigrated to the United States in 1913 to live with her father in San Francisco, California. In 1923, while romantically involved with photographer Edward Weston, Modotti relocated to Mexico City with Weston where they established a portrait photography studio. Together they found a community of political intellectuals and artists, which included Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, which subsequently led to Modotti joining the Communist Party. During her time in Mexico, Modotti was captivated by the people of Mexico, and blended this human interest with a modernist aesthetic in her photography. She additionally became the primary photographer for the Mexican mural movement, documenting the works of both Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. It was during this period that Modotti’s photographic style evolved, such as her formal experiments with architectural interiors, blooming flowers, urban landscapes, and especially in her many beautiful images of workers during the Depression, such as her famous photograph Worker’s Parade (1926). Modotti remained involved in radical politics throughout her time in Mexico before being exiled in 1931.