Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Written by: Isabel Quintero

Illustrated by: Zeke Peña

Language: English

Age: YA

Region: Mexico

Published by: The J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles

Isbale Quintero and Zeke Pena bring the life of Graciela Iturbide, one of the most celebrated Mexican photographers, to life in this splendid graphic novel for young adults. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read as we are taken along Iturbide’s journey as she discovers herself through the photographs she takes of the world around her.

We peak into the lives of Mexican American cholos and cholas from East Los Angeles who strived to carve out an American life for themselves while holding their Mexican heritage as a badge of honor and resistance. We travel with Iturbide to Juchitán in the state of Oaxaca were “womanhood is not weakness;- it is unapologetic,” and gender is not binary but maintains the fluidity forever present in the region. She worked in India where the thesis of her project was to find connections between India and Mexico. It was there she questioned, “do we force our vision to find likeness, Reader, because we fear difference?” She photographs people but also things.

“Human subjects tell a biased version of who they are. But objects have a different perspective. They ask me to use my imagination, to listen as they tell their stories.”

This biography is original and exciting. The graphic novel presentation of Iturbide’s life pulls the reader into her life, we are with her, we see what she sees, we can relate.

While we get a glimpse into an artist’s life, we also learn about Mexican, Mexican American, Indigenous, Indian, and American culture through her experiences with the people and places of those areas where she pieced herself together with every new connection and photograph she took. Photographic: The life of Graciela Iturbide is an inspirational story for any young adult, or adult for that matter. A wonderful reminder to pursue our dreams and find ourselves in the world around us.

Additional Resources:

Zeke Peña’s Website (illustrator)

Isabel Quintero’s Blog (author)

Graciela Iturbide’s Website

Getty’s Website (Publisher)

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