Iturbide turned to photography after the death of her six-year-old daughter, Claudia, in 1970. She studied at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with the intention of becoming a film director. She realized how drawn she was to photography which was Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s area of expertise. He was a teacher at the university as well as a cinematographer, photographer and became her mentor. She traveled with Bravo between 1970 and 1971 and learned that "there is always time for the pictures you want. " In 1971 she was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Grant, and a scholarship at the Guggenheim College.  Iturbide photographs everyday life, almost entirely in black-and-white. She was inspired by the photography of Josef Koudelka, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado and Álvarez Bravo. Her self-portraits especially reflect and showcase Bravo’s influence and play with innovation and attention to detail. She became interested in the daily life of Mexico's indigenous cultures and people (the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Seri ) and has photographed life in Mexico City, Juchitán, Oaxaca and on the Mexican/American border (La Frontera). With focus on identity, sexuality, festivals, rituals, daily life, death and roles of women; Iturbide’s photographs share visual stories of cultures in constant transitional periods. There’s also juxtaposition within her images between urban vs rural life and indigenous vs modern life. Iturbide's main concern has always been the exploration and investigation of her own cultural environment. She uses photography as a way of understanding Mexico; combining indigenous practices, assimilated Catholic practices and foreign economic trade under one scope.