New York Photo Review
Volume 5 Issue 1 January 7 to 13, 2014

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino

There is Time
Graciela Iturbide
Ed Barnas

Photo by Graciela Iturbide . Source: Graciela Iturbide, " Nuestra señora de las iguanas" 1979

Graciela Iturbide has had a long career in photography. She was mentored by Manuel Alvarez Bravo in the 1970s and inspired by the work of Josef Koudelka, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Sebastiao Salgado,influences clearly visible in photographs that capture everyday scenes in a manner transcending purely visual documentation, while adding a sense of mystery, or a hint of magic. Though thirty-four silver gelatin silver prints on view at Throckmorton Fine Art span four decades, this is definitely not a retrospective––half of the images date from 2000 or later.

Photo by Graciela Iturbide . Source: Graciela Iturbide, "El Sueno, Roma, Italia" 2006

An interest in the indigenous cultures of Mexico brought Iturbide to Juchitan, an area in which roles were reversed and women were dominant economically and politically. A number of these images from the 1970s and 1980s appear on the walls, including Mujer Angel, a photo of a woman who appears about to fly off the rocky ground while holding a boom box and Magnolia Con Sombrero, one of a transvestite which has the feel of another time altogether (I would have placed in the 1920s).

The ability to connect on a human level is important when photographing across cultures, be it the urban/rural divide in one’s own country or the national divide when traveling internationally. Whether at a festival in Juchitan or in northern India, Iturbide has taken to heart Alvarez Bravo’s advice to connect and present her subjects as individuals, not ethnographic specimens. Hay tiempo: there is time.

Photo by Graciela Iturbide . Source: Graciela Iturbide, "Desierto de Sonora, México" 2006

People are not her only subject. The exhibit includes landscapes and other studies. Several of these exhibit visual parallels across space or time. Some, such as images of windblown sand in Mexico’s Sonora Desert and a ground-hugging cloud of the Sufurata in Italy, or the cloudscapes taken in Sardinia and Italy, are presented side by side. Others, like the towering curve of a metal grid work in Puebla, Mexico and the curving tubular plant in Yucatan are separated.

Photo by Graciela Iturbide . Source: Graciela Iturbide, " Etla, Oaxaca" 2005

Most of these photographs have a deliberate feel about them, but some have a spontaneity that speaks to a more instinctive response. Whether it is the “seams” on a woman’s legs (Etla, Oaxaca), the blurred form of a woman passing by chalked sidewalk art (El Sueno, Rome), or converging railroad tracks through a train window, Iturbide is open to catching odd and visually intriguing moments. She is a photographer whose mind and eye are still responsive to fresh visual stimuli – and capable of sharing that vision with us.

Graciela Iturbide

145 E 57th St. 3rd Fl
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Thursday, November 14 to
Saturday, January 11, 2014
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Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat