© Graciela Iturbide, 2022
The social and cultural singularity of Juchitán, a region located in Oaxaca, at the heart of Zapotec culture, is reflected in different layers of daily life. For example, in Juchitán the market is managed exclusively by women, and women alone have access. The only exception being the muxes, a third gender of born biological males who take on feminine identities. Far from being stigmatized or marginalized, the muxes hold a special place within the order of Zapotec society.
Magnolia (2) reflects Graciela Iturbide’s sensitive approach to the people and situations she captures. Magnolia gazes directly at the camera, demonstrating the creation of a link that the photographer has established with her subject: the complicity in Magnolia’s smile, the restrained joy revealing that the moment seems to convey a relationship of trust. There is also a certain degree of humor found in the contrast between the fanciful dress Magnolia is wearing and the emptiness of the wall behind her. However, the image simultaneously conveys the fragility of that cultural exception; powerful magic unfolding in front of the photographer by the hand of the women in Juchitán.
Juchitán de las mujeres was published in 1989 and featured a text by Elena Poniatowska. The series received numerous distinctions, such as the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie prize in Arlés in 1991, and the Eugene Smith Memorial Foundation prize in 1987.