Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide
By: Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña
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.