Cover image for Photographic : the life of Graciela Iturbide
Photographic : the life of Graciela Iturbide

Physical Description:
95 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
HL 690 L Lexile
Born in Mexico City in 1942, Graciela Iturbide wants to be a writer, but her conservative family has a different idea. Although she initially follows their wishes, she soon grows restless. After tragedy strikes, she turns to photography to better understand the world. The photographic journey she embarks on takes her throughout Mexico and around the globe, introducing her to fascinating people and cultures, and eventually bringing her success and fame. With more than two dozen photographs by Iturbide herselft, Photographic explores the questions of what it means to become an artist. --


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book TEEN 921 ITURBIDE 1 1

On Order



A 2018 Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner and a 2018 Moonbeam Children's Books Gold Award Winner!

Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942, the oldest of 13 children. When tragedy struck Iturbide as a young mother, she turned to photography for solace and understanding. From then on Iturbide embarked on a photographic journey that has taken her throughout her native Mexico, from the Sonora Desert to Juchitán to Frida Kahlo's bathroom, to the United States, India, and beyond. Photographic is a symbolic, poetic, and deeply personal graphic biography of this iconic photographer. Iturbide's journey will excite readers of all ages as well as budding photographers, who will be inspired by her resolve, talent, and curiosity.

Author Notes

Isabel Quintero's first novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, was one of School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014, and won the American Library Association's William C. Morris YA Debut Award prize. Her second book, Ugly Cat & Pablo , was published in April 2017. She lives in Southern California.

Zeke Peña is an artist and illustrator whose work about the U.S./Mexico border community explores universal themes by remixing contemporary and historical narratives. He has exhibited at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Albuquerque Hispanic Cultural Center, Houston Center of Photography, El Paso Museum of Art, and Museo de Arte Ciudad Juárez, as well as in galleries across the United States and Mexico.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Mixing original illustrations, first-person prose, and lyrical interludes with gorgeous reproductions of photographer Graciela Iturbide's work, Quintero and Peña patiently reveal their subject's many angles, producing a "kaleidoscopic unraveling" of the artist. In this presentation, time is fluid, the text moving between pivotal moments in Iturbide's career to explain reoccurring themes and concepts in her work. The graphic novel format lends itself particularly well to this nonlinear style, as Peña deftly portrays Iturbide over the course of 50 years. The illustrator incorporates much of the artist's signature motifs into the visuals, and his choice to use a black-and-white palette is another nod to Iturbide's point of view. This mesmerizing book conveys profound ideas yet also adheres to the artist's vision. (Quintero reminds readers that the use of words such as magical and surreal to describe Iturbide's work is incorrect; "her images are as real as they get.") Teens will come away with an evolved sense of how to look at a creator's life and work and how to think critically about art as a process. The importance of being seen, specifically in regard to indigenous communities in Mexico and Mexican Americans in the United States, as a narrative thread will resonate strongly with readers. VERDICT Quintero and Peña have set a new standard in artist biographies. A must for teen collections.-Della Farrell, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Quintero (Gabi, a Girl in Pieces) and newcomer Peña weave together Graciela Iturbide's award-winning photography, her own words, and narrative snapshots of her life into an artistically powerful graphic novel homage. Instead of creating a straightforward biography, the duo has opted to capture the impressions, intentions, and influences that were central to the photographer's work, which often focused on Mexican and indigenous culture, lives, and environments. Like Iturbide ("I see reality in black and white"), Peña works in grayscale, focusing predominantly on each panel's forms and faces by omitting the often-rich colors of Mexican landscape and dress. Archival materials recreate moments surrounding Iturbide's most famous photographs, guiding readers to an understanding of Iturbide's work-predominately that from the late 1970s-without explaining it outright. Though true biographical information is limited to elements of the artist's upbringing, the graphic novel honors a provocative life by taking a provocative form. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

This 2018 Boston GlobeHorn Book Nonfiction Awardwinning biography introduces readers to an icon. Orgullo mexicano. Maestra. Photographer Graciela Iturbides (b. 1942) story is told in comic-panel format, with striking black-and-white illustrations, high-quality reproductions of her own photographs, and spare first-person narration drawing upon her writing and interviews; interspersed are section introductions in a more conversational third-person, direct-address text. Together the sections trace, in not-quite-linear fashion, Iturbides travels from her home of Mexico City to the neighborhoods of East L.A. and Tijuana; the pueblos of Oaxaca and Juchitn; Jaipur in India; Frida Kahlos Casa Azul in Coyoacn; and beyond. We see the development of the many obsessions she is compelled to document and understand through her work: birds and the freedom of flight, death, life in in-between spaces, ritual, gender politics, the stories objects tell. Iturbides photography, frequently featuring strong women at the center of their indigenous communities, is intensely personal and culturally specific, yet universally resonant. Her philosophy is rooted in intimacy and respect (I respect my subjects because I am subject, too. Always) and in curiosity about liminal places where the present and past, the indigenous and postcolonial, the real and the imagined overlap. As author and illustrator document Iturbide documenting her subjects, they embrace all of these elements of Iturbides ethos. A powerful homage to the five-decade evolution of an artist still workingand still evolvingtoday. Additional biographical information and a recommended reading list are appended. katie bircher (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Quintero and Peña's biography of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide is far more than an account of her life. Quintero captivatingly muddles the line between objective observer and participant in the narrative, directly addressing readers at times and adopting Iturbide's voice at others. And for a woman like Iturbide who sees fragments of herself in her subjects, who views photography as participation in a moment of shared reality this conspiratorial tone is essential to understanding her as an artist. Iturbide's conservative childhood and marriage at 19 is touched upon, but the bulk of the book examines her formative projects and evolution as a photographer. It begins in 1979, with her commission to photograph the Seri people of the Sonoran Desert, introducing samples of her work and her artistic philosophies. Reproductions of her black-and-white photos (the medium of reality) are folded into and echoed in Peña's black-ink illustrations, which scatter, layer, and extend images beyond their frames, conjuring the in-between space in life that Iturbide seeks to capture. Her work shows America through the faces of the White Fence gang of East L.A. It reveals the strong women and respected muxes (nonbinary individuals) of Mexico's Juchitán. It finds perspective in birds, art in cacti, stories in objects always uncovering a new vantage point for glimpsing truth. A concise, linear biography concludes, along with captions for the 25 of Iturbide's photos included in the text. Eye-opening and masterfully rendered.--Julia Smith Copyright 2018 Booklist

Library Journal Review

YA author Quintero (Gabi: A Girl in Pieces) and cartoonist Peña tell the story of renowned Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide (b. 1942) through a mixture of illustrations that portray important events in her life and her own famous photographs. This unusual blend of media draws us deeper into the story, making it come to life. From pieces such as Our Lady of the Iguanas, Juchitán, Oaxaca (1979) to Rosario and Boo Boo in Their Home, East L.A. (1986), we see Iturbide become one with her subjects, somehow transcending her role as photographer and entering into a relationship with everything her camera captures. The artwork of Pena, which depicts these interactions, seems to do the same, joining audiences to Iturbide's experiences. Verdict Recommended to anyone interested in fine art photography, particularly of Mexican and Southwestern American subjects, and for library collections with a focus on this area.-Sonnet Ireland, St. Tammany Parish P.L., Mandeville, LA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.