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.


  • Title: Hands Resting on Tool
  • Creator: Tina Modotti
  • Date Created: 1927
  • Location Created: Mexico
  • Physical Dimensions: 19.7 × 21.6 cm (7 3/4 × 8 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Palladium print
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 86.XM.722.3
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Tina Modotti (American, born Italy, 1896 - 1942)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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