No. 1
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Tina Modotti
Italian, Mexico, 1925
Platinum print
9 1/2 x 6 11/16 in.

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Tina Modotti believed that photography had the potential to transform ordinary things into symbolic objects. Photographed at close proximity, this luminous pair of Easter lily and bud take on a sculptural quality. The subtle tonal variations of the platinum print convey the flower's and bud's distinct, tactile qualities. As the viewer's eyes move upward, the flower's dark stem gives way to smooth, light petals that bend back gracefully, becoming translucent at the tips. The closed bud, however, displays the slightly irregular texture of the petals, and, unlike the open flower, appears darkest at the tips. For Modotti, who described nature as innocent, mysterious, and erotic, the contrast between the open, light flower and the closed, dark bud may have symbolized her own emotional state.