The Museum of Avant-garde

Graciela Iturbide

Graciela Iturbide, widely hailed as Latin America's preeminent living photographer, was born in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1942. Growing up as the eldest of thirteen children, she attended Catholic school and was introduced to photography at an early age. Her father captured moments of her and her siblings, and at 11 years old, she received her first camera.

In 1970, after the tragic loss of her six-year-old daughter, Claudia, Iturbide turned her focus to photography. Initially aspiring to become a film director, she enrolled at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. However, her fascination with photography, particularly under the mentorship of Manuel Álvarez Bravo, a renowned teacher and expert in the field, led her to pivot her career. She received the W. Eugene Smith Grant in 1971 and secured a scholarship at the Guggenheim College, marking pivotal moments in her burgeoning career.

By the mid-1970s, Iturbide had gained prominence, regularly exhibiting her work in group showcases in Mexico City and New York. Her photography captures everyday life, predominantly in black-and-white, delving into the essence of Mexico's indigenous cultures—the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Seri. Her lens also focuses on urban life in Mexico City, Juchitán, Oaxaca, and the borderlands between Mexico and the United States (La Frontera).

Iturbide's visual narratives encompass identity, sexuality, festivals, rituals, daily routines, death, and the roles of women, portraying cultures in continual states of transition. Her primary pursuit has been exploring and documenting her own cultural environment.

Her remarkable contributions to photography were recognized in 2022 when she was inducted into the Photography Hall of Fame and Museum. Among numerous accolades, in 2021, she received the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award from the World Photography Organization. Iturbide's work resides in esteemed collections worldwide, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MoMA in New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía in Mexico City.