Friday, January 26, 2018

Jesusa Vargas reviews Graciela Iturbide

Born in Mexico City in the early 1940's, Graciela Iturbide became known for her photo documentation of the indigenous population in Mexico and photos that were produced during her travels throughout Latin America. Her most familiar photographs of the people of Juchitan and of Frida Kahlo's bathroom and belongings are widely shared and discussed. However, there are some abstract, yet very intriguing, photos from her Travel Notebook series worth mentioning.

In her photo, Estados Unidos/ United States, she draws attention from the viewer towards the highly contrasting composition of dark lines and negative space created in a black and white photograph. The dark lines seem to create a simulated depth leading away and towards the top horizontal half of the image as they gather tighter and shrink the negative white space in the background. Are they cracks spreading over an arid surface or possibly dried vines that once grew and flourished as they came together at that horizon line created in the composition?

USA, 1991.   Estados Unidos/United States

Another black and white photo taken in Rome in 2007 provides us with great tonal ranges and a double exposure feel that her USA photo did not have. Centered train tracks slightly curve and create a perspective that leads the viewer further away in the distance to reveal a balanced flaw in the image, perhaps a chemical burn to her film negative. The position of this reaction, top and centered edge of the photograph, works harmoniously with the overall composition. What appears to be buildings, maybe a reflection on glass of  structural buildings appear exposed beneath the train track image and become more visibly detectible within the circular chemical burn at the top of the composition.

Roma, Italia, 2007.     Roma

Graciela's website provides great images of her works, information on her previous exhibitions, awards, and publications. Each series is located within her titled links and her site is bilingual. Her black and white photographs have been an inspiration to my own artworks, she offers a creative and eye catching perspective of landscapes and people that anyone can appreciate.

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