Graciela Iturbide

A black-and-white photograph of an adult woman with short, dark hair looking into the viewfinder of a small film camera. She is outdoors with grass behind her. She holds the camera with her right hand and focuses the lense with her left. She is smiling as she looks into it.

Photo by Bill Jay; Courtesy of the photographer, © Bill Jay

Born in 1942

Born to wealthy, conservative, Catholic parents in Mexico City in 1942, Iturbide was the eldest of 13 children. Following her education at a Catholic school, she married Mexican photographer Pedro Meyer in 1962 and had three children.

Iturbide turned her attention to art in the late 1960s. Initially, she studied filmmaking at the Centro de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónama de México. She discovered photography while working as a studio assistant to master photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo in 1970 to 1971.

Bravo’s poetic style influenced Iturbide, but she ultimately chose to focus on what she described as “photo essays” as opposed to individual photographs. Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, whom she met on a trip to Europe, was Iturbide’s other major influence. His concept of the “decisive moment,” the creative moment when the photographer decides to capture a photograph, informed her work.

During the 1970s, Iturbide worked for the Instituto Naciola Indenista, documenting indigenous cultures. She received international acclaim for her work in the town of Juchitán, Oaxaca, where she photographed the community’s marketplace and scenes of domestic life, both of which were dominated by women.

In addition to working in her native Mexico, Iturbide has also photographed subjects in Cuba, Germany, India, Madagascar, Hungary, France, and the United States.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Graciela Iturbide
  • Birth

    Mexico City, 1942
  • Phonetic Spelling

    grah-see-EHL-ah ee-toor-BEE-thay
  • NMWA Exhibitions

    • Graciela Iturbide’s Mexico, 2020
    • Live Dangerously, 2019
    • Frida Kahlo: Public Image, Private Life, A Selection of Photos and Letters, 2007
    • Images of Spirit: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide, 2000
    • Book as Art XII: Artists’ Books from the Permanent Collection, 2000
    • Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century, 1999–2000
    • A History of Women Photographers, 1997

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