© Graciela Iturbide, 2022
One trait of Graciela Iturbide’s work is how it opens up to a plurality of interpretations, revealing the reality that she captures with an ambivalent richness that is not limited to a single meaning. Even in photographs from her series Juchitán de las mujeres, where she most closely adheres to photography’s ability for registering reality, Iturbide’s use of the camera is never limited to the distance of ethnography.
One of the most frequent visual tropes in her images is doubling. Often, the image is divided into two parts, two coinciding features or two analogous figures. Elements appear such as the mask or, as in Magnolia (1), the mirror; a traditional motif used to depict the splitting of a personality, the fracture between interiority and exteriority, or as a way to reference the self. In this photograph Magnolia’s manner of holding the mirror is an explicit statement on the artifice of the scene’s construction, and also gestures towards the image’s unhurried nature and the complicity that has been established between the model and the photographer. The mirror intensifies the muxe’s ambiguity; it combines the duality of her strength and her delicacy, conveyed through her gesture.