Hands Resting on Tool
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Tina Modotti
Italian, Mexico, 1927
Platinum print
7 3/4 x 8 1/2 in.

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The worker's worn, dusty hands rest upon the handle of his tool, against a backdrop of his soiled work clothes. Although shown here in repose, the hands are a powerful symbol of a life of hard manual labor. The worker paused here for Tina Modotti's camera, not letting go of the tool and thus suggesting an imminent resumption of work. Modotti, a devoted Communist, was sympathetic to the plight of the laborer in her adopted Mexico, and her photograph serves as an anonymous but respectful depiction of all those in the peasant class for whom survival is a daily struggle.