Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña
Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City in 1942, the oldest of thirteen children. When tragedy strikes Graciela as a young mother, she turns to photography for solace and understanding.
From then on Graciela embarks on a photographic journey that takes her throughout her native Mexico, from the Sonoran Desert to Juchitán to Frida Kahlo’s bathroom, to the United States, India, and beyond.
Photographic is a symbolic, poetic, and deeply personal graphic biography of this iconic photographer. Graciela’s journey will excite young readers and budding photographers who will be inspired by her resolve, talent, and curiosity.
About the author:
Isabel Quintero lives and writes in the Inland Empire of Southern California, where she was born and raised. She received her BA in English and MA in English Composition from California State University, San Bernardino. Her first novel, Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, was one of School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014, and won the American Library Association’s William C. Morris Award prize for a debut young-adult novel. Her second book, Ugly Cat & Pablo (Scholastic), was published in April 2017, to much acclaim.
About the illustrator:
Zeke Peña is a cartoonist, an illustrator, and a painter. He was born in southern New Mexico and grew up on the US–Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. He received a degree in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin. His illustrations have appeared on album and book covers, in editorials and comics, and as graphics for community organizing. His work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago), Albuquerque Hispanic Cultural Center, Houston Center of Photography, MACLA (San Jose), Loisaida Center (New York), El Paso Museum of Art, and Museo de Arte Ciudad Juárez, as well as galleries in the US and Mexico.
“Striking black and white illustrations…. A powerful homage to the five-decade evolution of artist still working—and still evolving—today.”
—Horn Book Magazine **Starred Review**
“The graphic novel honors a provocative life by taking a provocative form.”
“The biggest question in creating a graphic novel about a photographer might be how to use the artist’s photographs themselves, if at all. It would have been injudicious to produce a biography without Iturbide’s memorable photos of a goat-slaughtering ritual in Mexico or her stunning portraits of Mexican natives and landscapes. Quintero and Peña strike a good compromise, featuring many of Iturbide’s photographs as a complement to the biography, but without being dependent on them. The result is a book that expertly combines various aspects to become something utterly unique.”
"[Graciela] Iturbide’s artistic vision and story are conveyed with poetry, a simple sophistication, and a dollop of bold swagger."
—Mary McCoy, Senior Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library and author of Camp So-and-So and Dead to Me
“It is a rare feat when a writer and illustrator are able to capture the creative magnitude of an iconic photographer. With poetic prose by Isabel Quintero and luminary illustrations by Zeke Peña, the stunning biography Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide will guide readers through a compelling visionary journey. Photographic is a worthy homage to an important and influential photographer and will stand alone as a truly creative piece of work.”
—Lilliam Rivera, author of The Education of Margot Sanchez
“[This] graphic novel is a 96-page journey through Iturbide’s artistic life, guided by poetic prose, original photographs, and black-and-white illustrations. . . . Photographic is a biography unlike any of its predecessors.
“From pieces such as Our Lady of the Iguanas, Juchitán, Oaxaca (1979) to Rosario and Boo Boo in Their Home, East L.A. (1986), we see Iturbide become one with her subjects, somehow transcending her role as photographer and entering into a relationship with everything her camera captures. The artwork of Penã, which depicts these interactions, seems to do the same, joining audiences to Iturbide’s experiences. . . . Recommended to anyone interested in fine art photography, particularly of Mexican and Southwestern American subjects, and for library collections with a focus on this area.”
“Quintero and Peña have set a new standard in artist biographies. A must for teen collections.”
—School Library Journal
“The book, simply, is beautiful. . . . I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone.”
“Many of Iturbide’s photographs focus on the mythology and reality of people, landscapes, forms, and objects. Quintero’s text articulates these experiences. Peña’s pen and ink illustrations meticulously recreate the world as Iturbide sees it–in black and white. When Iturbide’s actual photos are interwoven into the biography, they are simultaneously seamless and surprising. Quintero’s lyric prose is just as mesmerizing. Together this mix of artforms combine to create a unique and spellbinding artist statement.”
—YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Blog