My assignment for you is to create a photographic story about how you live. When I made photographs in East Los Angeles and Juchitán, México, I lived with people from those communities, developed relationships with them, and created work with their input and involvement.

There are many ways to tell a story. Discuss with your family, or a group of close friends, the story you want to tell through photographs. Take the liberty to tell your story with photographs in whatever way you feel best represents the subject: your family or group of friends. Consider how clothing can communicate something about a person. Consider how the customs or traditions you capture can communicate something about your subjects. Take into account the environment—neighborhood, school, and home—as a reflection of your family or friends.

Each student will interact with his or her subject in a different way. Share your photographs with your classmates to explore the different ways that each of you composes the story of your family or friends. Look for commonalities and differences that make your photographic stories unique.

Artist Biography

Autorretrato, Oaxaca (Self-Portrait, Oaxaca) (detail), Graciela Iturbide, 2006. © Graciela Iturbide. Photo courtesy of the artist and Rose Gallery, Santa Monica
Born 1942 in Mexico City, Mexico
Currently lives in Coyoacán, Mexico

Photographer Graciela Iturbide is inspired by the poetry she finds in everyday life. Whether she captures birds in flight against an expansive sky, young men and women in East Los Angeles, or an iguana vendor in a small Mexican town, Iturbide photographs her subjects with a poetic sensibility and a respect for the way her subjects want to be represented. Her images reveal strong individuals at ease in front of the camera lens, a result of the relationships that Iturbide establishes with her subjects.

Iturbide’s artistic career began when she studied cinematography at the University of Mexico. There she met photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, who would become her mentor, teacher, and life-long friend. Like Alvarez Bravo, Iturbide was interested in photographing indigenous Mexican culture. She is best known for her black-and-white images depicting indigenous communities, in which she portrays both ancient customs and modernized life—sometimes in one photograph.
La frontera, Tijuana, México (The Border, Tijuana, Mexico), Graciela Iturbide, 1990. © Graciela Iturbide
Cholas, White Fence, East L.A., Graciela Iturbide. Negative, 1986; print, late 1990s. © Graciela Iturbide

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