© Graciela Iturbide, 2022
Already in her first series, Those who live in the sand, Graciela Iturbide included an image entitled Self Portrait with the Seris among the portraits of the people who were part of the indigenous community living in the Sonora Desert, depicting herself in a hieratic fashion, dressed in Seris clothing and with her face painted like the members of said community. The image is inscribed within the rest of the portraits as if it were the product of a ritual act in which Iturbide is able to become closer to the community by placing herself in front of her own camera, literally positioning herself on their side, in their place.
There is a magical and ritual sense in the self-portraits that appear in Ojos para volar: retratos autorretratos y otras fotografías [Eyes to Fly With: Portraits, Self-Portraits, and Other Photographs], a book that includes texts by Alejandro Castellanos and was published by the University of Texas Press in 2006. The Surrealist legacy is one of the undercurrents flowing through her work. Ojos para volar draws on one of the preferred motifs in Surrealist iconography: the negation of the eye, wounding it or closing it in order to access another more ample, profound, and true vision. Likewise, in her self-portraits with animals—snails, a fish that seals her mouth, snakes that escape from it—there is a quasi shamanic attitude, one alluding to the invocation of nature as an alter-ego from which to see and speak that is reminiscent of works by artists such as Ana Mendieta.