The mexican photographer blends history, lyricism and portraiture to record cultures in transition
Looking back over more than 20 solo exhibitions and eight books of photographs, the acclaimed Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide can still pinpoint the breakthrough moment in her quarter-century-old career. It happened in 1979 when Francisco Toledo, arguably Mexicos best living painter, asked her to do a series of photographs of his hometown, Juchitn, in the state of Oaxaca.
The outcome was the photo-essay titled Juchitn of the Women, which focused on the matriarchal nature of this Zapotec Indian community. Women appear as healers, as political leaders, as merchants, as sexual sirens. The most memorable male in the series is a transvestite.
Toledo often found inspiration for his own work in Juchitn. But his paintings never allude to what has now become recognized, thanks to Iturbides photographs, as the social nexus of his hometowna power held by women in the society that is unusual in Mexico. I …