My eyes and thoughts were heavenward indeed–until glancing down, I saw Tina lying naked on the azotea, taking a sunbath. My cloud "sitting" was ended, my camera turned down toward a more earthly theme...
Distracted from his original goal of photographing clouds, Edward Weston made this nude portrait of his lover, Tina Modotti, on the terrace rooftop of their temporary Mexico City home. Stretched out with her hands tucked under her back, her figure forms a series of arcing and sweeping lines that draws the viewer's eyes from her forehead to her breasts, rib cage, stomach, and thighs. Weston made this image when the sun was high overhead, resulting in a small shadow under the arch of her back. His elevated and diagonal angle exploited the formal qualities of Modotti's curvaceous figure.
Modotti was not simply Weston's lover and model; she exerted an enormous influence on his creative vision during their years together in Mexico. She arranged for his first exhibition in Mexico City, introduced him to many prominent artists, served as his language interpreter, and worked as his darkroom assistant. Weston taught her photography. During this critical period they inspired one another–each developing a unique, modernist vision.