A major figure of Latin-American photography, Graciela Iturbide’s approach combines the documentary and the lyrical. Off-center compositions, graphic effects, and heavy shadows create a poetic universe where a feeling of strangeness is combined with one of harsh reality. The powerful equilibrium of her compositions produces skies filled with birds, comical, unexpected situations where chickens are pictured sitting wisely on market stalls, while elsewhere chirping flocks appear to invade the scene in agile, flowing movements. For Iturbide, living birds represent freedom. But death is never far away in her work, nor indeed is a certain sense of the surreal. An organic dimension, linked to blood, flesh, mud, sweat, and the earth also permeates most of Graciela Iturbide’s images, for she has a special relationship with reality, choosing to capture unique moments with her lens. Birds and men cohabit and rub up against each other. From India to Mexico, gulls, eagles, pigeons, herons, and ravens invade man’s space or insinuate their way into it in a serendipitous, solitary fashion. We feel both drawn and repulsed by the birds she photographs, their fragility and, on occasion, their menacing strength, catching our attention.
This publication is part of the Des oiseaux (On birds) collection celebrating, through the vision of different artists, their immense presence in a world where they are now vulnerable. Accompanying these photographs, the ornithologist Guilhem Lesaffre writes a special essay. Titles in this collection include: Michael Kenna, Yoshinori Mizutani, Bernard Plossu, Pentti Sammallahti, and Terri Weifenbach.