Graciela Iturbide, Photographer of Dreams

Graciela Iturbide, Photographer of Dreams

I'm doing a photography unit with my classes and we're looking at the work of Graciela Iturbide.  She's a Mexican artist who's been taking photos of her country, her culture, her people, since she was 11.  But, her work isn't simply documentary.  There's really something haunting about it.  And my students agree. 

A 2016 New York Times piece argues that her photography is "surrealist," and that feels just right. 

Her photographs are firmly of this world — birds in flight, children dressed up as angels, animals at the moment of sacrifice — but they have an expectant and otherworldly air.
— Teju Cole, Strangely Enough, On Photography, New York TImes, 2016

Take a look at them.

 Graciela Iturbide. Angel Woman, 1979.

Graciela Iturbide. Angel Woman, 1979.

 Graciela Iturbide.  Our Lady of the Iguanas, 1979.  

Graciela Iturbide.  Our Lady of the Iguanas, 1979.  

Most photographs are not interesting. Then a strange one turns up, a real winner, and it is difficult to pin its strangeness down.
— Teju Cole, Strangely Enough, On Photography, New York Times, 2016.
 Graciela Iturbide,  Tonalá , 1974

Graciela Iturbide, Tonalá, 1974

 Graciela Iturbide,  Cemetary , 1988.

Graciela Iturbide, Cemetary, 1988.

They are dreamy and spiritual but also rooted in universal shared experiences of love and death, tradition and identity.

 Graciela Iturbide,  La frontera , Tijuana, México (The Border, Tijuana, Mexico), 1990

Graciela Iturbide, La frontera, Tijuana, México (The Border, Tijuana, Mexico), 1990

 Graciela Iturbide,  Fifteen , 1986.

Graciela Iturbide, Fifteen, 1986.

 Graciela Iturbide,  Jueves Santo,  1986

Graciela Iturbide, Jueves Santo, 1986

They stick with you, don't they?

Iturbide's photos can be seen in collections at the Brooklyn Museum, the MOMA, J. Paul Getty Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (D.C.).

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In my lesson planning, I came across this comic book/biography of Iturbide, which I'm bummed I can't share with my students (it comes out in March) but I'm hoping will be a great resource for introducing her story to younger audiences.  

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For adults, this book has gotten rave reviews.  

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Cover photo is Self-Portrait in My House, 1974.

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