In India, in accordance with Hindu beliefs, cattle are considered sacred and roam unharmed through the streets. Garciela Iturbide captures the freedom of wild animals, illustrating their lack of inhibition through her emphasis on their motion. Renowned for her intimate depictions of Mexican and Mexican-American communities, Iturbide traveled the world, first as an assistant to her mentor, surrealist photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and later, as an influential photographer herself. One of her most notable destinations was India, where she took Bull Walking through Birds. This image shows the bull breaking through the mass of birds, trotting carefree. The birds fly towards the viewer and they are rendered in motion, with their moving bodies blurred. The images illustrates the freedom in uninhibited movement and the powerful presence of animals. Surrealist in nature, this image does not denote its setting. Its place is ambiguous and dreamlike in construction and subject matter. The dark bull runs through a wall of white birds, creating a fantastical contrast. White dominates the majority of the composition and the bull is the mode through which the darkness is revealed. Life is affirmed in the animalistic energy of the free running bull, who parts the sea of whiteness.
Jocelyn Lo, Getty Collections/Conservation Summer Intern, 2015
Image on homepage: Garciela Iturbide, Untitled (Bull Walking through Birds), Jaipur, India (Detail), silver gelatin print on paper, 16 in. x 20 in., Scripps College