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The Cemetery

Date 1988
Location Juchitán Oaxaca Mexico
Dimensions Image: 19 x 13 in. (48.3 x 33 cm)
Paper: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Mat: 24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

This image is part of Graciela Iturbide’s series on the Juchitan indigenous culture, a major focus of her work from 1979 to 1988. Located in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, the Juchitan is a matriarchal society in which women are in charge of everything from commerce to religious ceremonies. In The Cemetery, taken in 1988, Iturbide depicts a woman carrying firewood through a cemetery made up of modest adobe tombs. Swallows circle around, filling the frame of the image. The scene is beautifully surreal, but also foreboding. The photographer creates her own reality, moving past Mexico’s Catholic traditions into Indian mysticism.

Credit line

Gift of the Photographer to the W. Eugene Smith Legacy Collection

Feedback Accession No. 119.1995