Make a run for the border

By GREG COOK  |  June 2, 2009

Weston too pursued indigenous Mexican style (that sunlight) and subjects (woven palm leaves, ancient stone carvings, silly arrangements of folk dolls), though he seems to have come at it with the Western Modernist attitude of plumbing the deep, raw feeling of more "primitive" peoples.

Meanwhile the relationship of Weston and Modotti grew troubled. For his deeply sad 1924 portrait of her, Weston schemed, as he had in his shot of Galván, to use unseen action to fill the picture with emotion. "She leaned against a whitewashed wall. I drew close . . . and kissed her. A tear rolled down her cheek — and then I captured forever the moment."

Weston returned to California and lived to the ripe age of 71 while shooting astonishing, influential photos of shells and deserts and naked ladies. Modotti joined the Mexican Communist Party, shacked up with a Cuban rebel, was framed for an attack on the Mexican president, was thrown out of Mexico, got involved in politics in Moscow, did aid work in the Spanish Civil War, snuck back into Mexico, and died there in 1942, of an apparent heart attack in a taxi.

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Related: Slideshow: Two Mexican exhibits at MFA, Viva Modernism, Photos: 'Seeing Songs' at MFA, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Steichen,  More more >
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