Graciela Iturbide

Graciela Iturbide

Born 1942

Artist Details

Birth Place
Mexico City
Phonetic Spelling
grah-see-EHL-ah ee-toor-BEE-thay
Multimedia (electronic; digital; video; film); Photography
Places of Residence
Mexico City
Centro de Estudios Cinematográficos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, 1969–72
Retrospective Exhibitions

The Goats Dance: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2007–08; Graciela Iturbide: Images of the Spirit, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1997–98; Graciela Iturbide: La forma y la memoria, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, 1996

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

About the Artist

Graciela Iturbide’s photographs reveal the daily lives, customs, and rituals of Mexico’s underrepresented native cultures.

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 Manuel Rocha Díaz 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 1970–71.

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.

National Museum of Women in the Arts