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Graciela Iturbide, Mexican, b. 1942
Cementerio, Juchitan, Oaxaca, 1988
Silver gelatin print on paper
16 in. x 20 in. (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm)

Object Type: Photography
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Scripps College. Purchase made possible by the Jean and Arthur Ames Fund
Accession Number: 2005.6.2

In an interview with Fabienne Bradu, Graciela Iturbide eloquently described a key component in her creative process as, “an obsession with death transformed into an affirmation of life.” Her wide-ranging oeuvre is marked by a collection of mysterious, transcendental images that communicate the power of fleeting moments and the fragility of life. The silver gelatin print, Cementerio, Juchitan, Mexico from 1988, embodies an ethereal and simultaneously profound sense of experience. It is as though Iturbide is capturing the complex ritual of augury—that is, the art of divination—by observing the behavior of birds. As she explains, the birds in her photographs “derive from the solitary bird of St. John of the Cross…they might exist in reality, but above all they are inside of me.” Graciela Iturbide is considered one of the most important and influential living photographers in Latin America. Iturbide was originally trained in filmmaking and scriptwriting at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 1970, after her six-year-old daughter was killed in an accident, she changed direction and took an introductory photography class from Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002). Bravo soon became her mentor, collaborator, and friend. Iturbide’s association with him proved to be crucial to her development, not only as a photographer, but also as an artist with a singular vision. Working with Bravo provided Iturbide with a unique opportunity to see Mexico and the larger world around her through the photographic lens and through the eyes of her subjects. Djamila Ricciardi, ’10 Wilson Intern 2010

Signed, captioned and dated by the artist in pencil on verso.

Silver gelatin print, printed by the artist.

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