Mi visit this week was to the University art museum. I was able to see an art piece from Graciela Iturbide. She is a Mexican photographer, and her work has been exhibited internationally including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Getty. Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942, to traditional Catholic parents. She turned to photography after the death of her six-year-old daughter, Claudia, in 1970. The artist studied at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with the intention of becoming a film director, but she realized how drawn she was to photography later. 

I would describe Iturbide’s photography as wavy but straight at the same time. The photography is gelatin silver on print paper. he pieces are big, so you are able to identify the shape from meters. The gelatin silver process is the photographic process used with currently available black-and-white films and printing papers. A suspension of silver salts in gelatin is coated onto a support such as glass, flexible plastic or film, baryta paper, or resin-coated paper. 

According to Brooklyn Museum (2019) The images in this gallery represent series from different parts of Mexico, of which the most important is her breakthrough photoessay Juchitán of the Women (1979–86). In a documentary style notable for its humanistic grace, the series focuses on the indigenous Zapotec people in the town of Juchitán, in southeastern Mexico, where women dominate all aspects of social life, from the economy to religious rituals. The most emblematic image of the series, Our Lady of the Iguanas, shows the power and dignity of a Zapotec woman, who carries on her head live iguanas that form a bizarre crown. 

I would like to conclude saying how related I felt with these photos because of the culture, the Hispanic. Iturbide portrays Catholic traditions intertwined with pre-Hispanic rites and superstitions, showing a culture in constant flux. Approaching her subjects directly and frontally, Iturbide represents a dreamlike reality with great compassion, or, to use the artist’s own word, “complicity.” 

Artist: Graciela Iturbide
Media: gelatin silver on print paper
Gallery: The Gordon. F Hampton

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