Graciela Iturbide

Graciela Iturbide

Graciela Iturbide (born 1942 in Mexico City) is a Mexican photographer.


Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico in 1942, the eldest of thirteen children. She married the architect Manuel Rocha Díaz in 1962 and had three children over the next eight years. Iturbide's six year old daughter died in 1970; after this tragic death she turned to photography. She studied at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, where she met her mentor, the teacher, cinematographer and photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo.

Iturbide photographs everyday life, almost entirely in black-and-white. She was inspired by the photography of Josef Koudelka, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado and Álvarez Bravo. She became interested in the daily life of Mexico's indigenous cultures and has photographed life in Mexico City, Juchitán, Oaxaca and on the Mexican/American frontier (El Frontera.)

In 1979, Iturbide was asked by a man to photograph his village. Interested by the proposal, Iturbide released her first collection, titled "Mujer Ángel" ("Angel Woman") and shot in Mexico's portion of the Sonoran desert. Her first experience as a photographer shaped Iturbide's views on life, making her a strong supporter of feminism. The image of "Mujer Ángel" was used by the politically charged metal group Rage Against The Machine for their single "Vietnow" in 1997.

Some of the inspiration for her next work came from her support of feminist causes. Her well known collection, "Señora de Las Iguanas", ("Our Lady of the Iguanas") was shot in Juchitán, Oaxaca, a city where women dominated town life. Her work in Juchitán was not only about women, however: she also shot "Magnolia", a photo of a man wearing a dress and looking at himself on a mirror. It was "Magnolia" that has led many photography experts to say that Iturbide also explored sexuality among Mexicans with her work.

Iturbide has also photographed Mexican Americans in the White Fence barrio of East Los Angeles as part of the documentary book "A Day in the Life of America" (1987). She has worked in Argentina (during 1996), India (where she shot another well known photo of hers, "Perros Perdidos", or "Lost Dogs"), and the United States, where she did her last known work, an untitled collection of photos shot in Texas.

She is a founding member of the Mexican Council of Photography. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is included in many major museum collections including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

She continues to live and work in Coyoacán, Mexico.

She has won the W. Eugene Smith prize for photography (1987), a first prize award from Farnce's Mois de la Photo, and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1988). In 2008 she received the Hasselblad Foundation Photography Award. [citation | title=Graciela Iturbide Wins Hasselblad Foundation Photography Award | publisher=ARTINFO | year=2008 | date= March 20, 2008 | url= | accessdate=2008-05-20 ]

In awarding her the 2008 Hasselblad Foundation award, the Foundation said:

Graciela Iturbide is considered one of the most important and influential Latin American photographers of the past four decades. Her photography is of the highest visual strength and beauty. Graciela Iturbide has developed a photographic style based on her strong interest in culture, ritual and everyday life in her native Mexico and other countries. Iturbide has extended the concept of documentary photography, to explore the relationships between man and nature, the individual and the cultural, the real and the psychological. She continues to inspire a younger generation of photographers in Latin America and beyond. [citation | title=The 2008 Hasselblad Award Winner - Graciela Iturbide | publisher=Hasselblad Foundation | year=2008 | url= | accessdate=2008-06-17 ]

Her work is represented in the United States by the Rose Gallery in Santa Monica, the Mayans Gallery in Santa Fe and Throckmorton Fine Arts in New York City.


Graciela Iturbide has had many exhibitions of her work in different parts of the world, starting in 1980. Here is a list of a few of her exhibitions:
* 1980, "Graciela Iturbide", New Mexico.
* 1988, "Latina", an [ En Foco] exhibition at DCA City Gallery, New York, NY.
* 1990, "External Encounters, Internal Imaginings: The Photographs of Graciela Iturbide", at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, California.
* 1997-1998, "Images of Spirit" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
* 2003, "Pajaros et Paisajes" ("Birds and Sights"), Robert Miller Gallery, New York city.
* 2003, "Pajaros et Paisajes", OMG Gallery for Contemporary Art, Düsseldorf, Germany.
* 2007-2008, "The Goat's Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide", J. Paul Getty Museum


* "Images of the spirit". (1996) New York, Aperture Foundation. ISBN 0-89381-681-7
* "La Forma y la Memoria" (1996) ("Form and Memory")
* Iturbide, G., & Bradu, F. (2006). "Eyes to fly with: portraits, self-portraits, and other photographs". Wittliff Gallery series. Austin, University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-71462-9

Further reading

* Gili, M. (2006). "Graciela Iturbide". London, Phaidon. ISBN 0-7148-4570-1
* Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (1980). "7 portafolios Mexicanos: exposición por diversos países, Centro Cultural de México, abril-mayo de 1980." UNAM Difusión Cultural - in Spanish


External links

* []
* [] Profile of Iturbide commissioned by El Paseante.
* [] Edelman Gallery
* [] Rose Gallery, Santa Monica
* [] Throckmorton Fine Arts, New York, NY
* [] The Goat's Dance at the J. Paul Getty Museum
* [ Graciela Iturbide´s Official Website]

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