Graciela Iturbide was born in 1942 in Mexico City. In 1969 she enrolled at the age of 27 at the film school Centro de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónama de México to become a film director. However she was soon drawn to the art of still photography as practiced by the Mexican modernist master Manuel Alvarez Bravo who was teaching at the University. From 1970-71 she worked as Bravo’s assistant accompanying him on his various photographic journeys throughout Mexico.
In the early half of the 1970s, Iturbide traveled widely across Latin America in particular to Cuba and several trips to Panama.
In 1978 Iturbide was commissionedby the Ethnographic Archive of the National Indigenous Institute ofMexico to photograph Mexico’s indigenous population. Iturbide decided to document and record the way of life of the Seri Indians, a group of fisherman living a nomadic lifestyle in the Sonora desert in the north west of Mexico, along the border with Arizona, US.
In 1979 she was invited by the artist Francisco Toledo to photograph the Juchitán people who form part of the Zapotec culture native to Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Iturbide’s series that started in 1979 and runs through to 1988 resulted in the publication of her book Juchitán de las Mujeres in 1989.
Between 1980 and 2000, Iturbide was variously invited to work in Cuba, East Germany, India, Madagascar, Hungary, Paris and the US, producing a number of important bodies of work.