Fotograf Magazine

Graciela Iturbide

mythical women with iguanas

In her most famous photographs, Graciela Iturbide captured grand and graceful women. One of these she called Mujer Ángel (Woman Angel) and thus transformed her into a symbol of the Native American people of the Sonora desert in northern Mexico. We see the figure of a woman walking away from us along a steep slope towards a large desert horizon, softly backlit by the setting sun, dressed in a flowing long white skirt and holding a tape recorder. It is the tape deck that captures our interest and causes us to pay even more attention to her strange hurried ecstasy – it is a contrasting element, one which paradoxically makes her even more timeless and unreal. Punctum par excellence, one could say. Another Indian woman is depicted from a low angle; her expression could be described as superiority, if only it did not appear so unreal (or even surreal) – Nuestra senora de las iguanas (Our Lady of the Iguanas) is wearing a mad garland of live iguanas on her head. She is one of the ”children of tigers and other beasts“, in other words a member of the Zapotec tribe, which lives in the southern Mexican province of Oaxaca.

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