This new exhibition showcases Graciela Iturbide’s incredible photographs of Mexican culture
By Barry Pierce | Art | 29 May 2024

Cholas, East L.A., U.S.A., 1986. Collection Nathalie and Nico-
las Motelay © Graciela Iturbide

This June, The Photographers’ Gallery will be celebrating the work of legendary Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. For over 50 years, Iturbide’s work has explored the people and culture of Mexico through striking black-and-white photography.

In an interview for Heroine 16, Iturbide described her process through which she gained intimate access to the subjects of her photography. “I visited a lot of communities and always presented myself as a photographer as a way of asking for permission. I never tried to hide my camera – I don’t use long lenses, I don’t use tripods, and I was never doing portraits. All the photographs were taken in an instantaneous way, more like snapshots.”



One of Iturbide’s most famous photo series is Juchitán de las Mujeres (1979-1989), which focused on the matriarchal society of the Zapotec people of Tehuantepec, south-eastern Mexico. Immersing herself in their lives for a decade, her photographs show the strength and vitality of the Juchitán women who lead all aspects of social life, from the economy to religious rituals.

Elsewhere, Iturbide has documented the Mexican-American cholo gangs of Los Angeles and Tijuana, and the cinematic flatlands of American highways. “What I take in photographs is just my country,” she continued in the Heroine interview. “This is my aim; I discover places in my country. I capture daily activities, and I’m lucky enough to have the capacity to capture with the help of the people I photograph. I’m lucky enough to have this wonderful country, and I always take photographs of people with their dignity.”


Our Lady of the Iguanas (Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas), Juchitàn, Mexico, 1979. Collection Leticia and Stanislas Poniatowski. © Graciela Iturbide


Graciela Iturbide: Shadowlines will show at The Photographers’ Gallery from 14th June – 22nd September 2024

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