Interview: Graciela Iturbide, The Artistic Soul Of Mexico : Alt.Latino Take a journey into the artistic sensibilities of a genuine photographic icon. This interview was conducted entirely in Spanish.
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Graciela Iturbide, The Artistic Soul Of Mexico

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Graciela Iturbide, The Artistic Soul Of Mexico

Graciela Iturbide, The Artistic Soul Of Mexico

Graciela Iturbide, The Artistic Soul Of Mexico

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Graciela Iturbide's Mujer Ángel (Angel Woman), from 1979, was taken in the Sonoran Desert. Graciela Iturbide/Museum of Women in the Arts hide caption

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Graciela Iturbide/Museum of Women in the Arts

Graciela Iturbide's Mujer Ángel (Angel Woman), from 1979, was taken in the Sonoran Desert.

Graciela Iturbide/Museum of Women in the Arts

To say I was a little nervous going in to this interview with Graciela Iturbide is a bit of an understatement.

A small postcard of Mujer Ángel (Angel Woman), one of her most well-known photographs, is framed and has hung in every living space I have had since the 1980s. I have a number of books collecting her artistic depictions of indigenous life in Mexico. And, at the time of this interview back in pre-COVID February, I had just previewed a major exhibition of her work at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

But meeting her at the museum, seated in front of a massive blow-up of Mujer Ángel, I was immediately put at ease by the calm presence of a beloved elder tía and her relaxed Mexico City accent. The next day, we took a journey into the artistic sensibilities of a genuine photographic icon. Iturbide is a living connection to Mexico's indigenous culture. Her photographs don't depict that life as much as they celebrate its mythical and organic connection to their surroundings.

During our one-on-one conversation, she explains what inspires her, how she listened to opera with her teacher Manuel Álvarez Bravo — a photographer who stands as an equal to the great Mexican muralists of the early 20th century — and reveals what she would say to Mexico if the country was a person.

By the way, this is a family affair: the music on this week's episode features recordings by her son, Manuel Rocha Iturbide, a Mexican composer and sound artist.

The interview was conducted entirely in Spanish.

One final note: You can take a virtual tour of Graciela Iturbide's Mexico, presented by the National Museum of Women in Arts.