August 6, 2008

Graciela Iturbide


My grandfather made ladies shoes. He didn't physically make them himself, he would cross the border and buy good ladies shoes in Laredo and then have a network of local leather men and cobblers make meticulous copies which he would then label with his Rudy brand (He was also a loan shark on the side). Everyone said his shoes were better than the originals. The leather was better, they lasted longer, etcetera. So some days he would drive around Monterrey and meet with men who tanned leather, cut leather, or dyed leather or who stitched shoes, or fitted soles, or manufactured shoe boxes. Some days he would drive around to the various shoe stores in the surrounding villages making deals for his shoes, and some days he would collect money or collateral from the people who owed him. I used to love to make the rounds with him always up front in those big wide seats of his 70's era Cadillacs or his stylish Ford Elite listening to Pedro Infante on the radio. We covered hundreds of miles on our summers together crisscrossing Monterrey and 50 miles in every direction. My memory of that time is dreamlike. This was pre-Nafta Mexico in the 70's before everything started to look like everything else and many of the things I saw burned into the brain forming the foundation of my visual memory palace. I mention this, because Graciela Iturbide's images remind me of my memories and recalling people and places I saw on street corners and in markets maybe for a few seconds but who were unforgettable. There is not one good site showcasing the range of Iturbide's work, but you can find some of images here and here. If you are really interested, her books are a better bet.

posted at 12:52 AM by raul

Filed under: things mexican

TAGS: abuelito (4) memory palace (2) mexico (14) monterrey (6) rudy (1)


08/06/08 09:33 AM

The Mexico Graciela describes is still alive and well in the south. Go visit Chiapas and the Macdonalds, Taco Bells , and malls of the north give way to markets and people still connected to their land and their history.

08/06/08 11:19 AM

She captures the gothic-ness of Mexican (if not Latin American) superstition, the learned attachment to religion and the seemingly contrived surreality of our small towns and villages. What I see here of her work is pretty wonderful. I had never heard of her before but now I'll look out for her. Pedro Infante... my dad liked him too.

08/13/08 09:49 PM

your words are as beautiful as her pictures. thank you for that.

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