Mexican peasants reading El Machete by Tina Modotti (1928)

The photograph titled “Mexican peasants reading El Machete” was taken by artist Tina Modotti in 1928. The image captures a group of Mexican peasants focused on reading a newspaper, with the prominent display of the newspaper’s title ‘El Machete,’ suggesting a moment of engagement with political or social content.

The photograph is in black and white, providing a timeless quality to the scene. The image is notable for its composition, with straw hats filling the frame and creating a textured canopy over the central subject, the newspaper, which is held open by unseen hands. The hats, perhaps worn by the peasants, provide a sense of identity and unity among the individuals, while also adding a graphic element to the image. The focus of the shot is on the newspaper itself, with phrases visible despite the pronounced wear and folding of the paper, hinting at frequent handling and the importance of the newspaper to its readers. The faces of the peasants are mostly obscured, save for one individual whose face is partially visible under the brim of his hat, his eyes seemingly fixed on the printed words. This careful framing and use of angles create an intimate viewpoint that pulls the observer into the moment, emphasizing the act of reading and the exchange of ideas.

Other Photographs from Tina Modotti

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