The pictures in Nathan Cordova’s second publication, One Man’s Body and Vicinity, continue his visual exploration of his complex relationship with his father who passed away in 2015. In it, Nathan utilizes original black and white photographs, handwritten text, and found maps sourced from areas of Spanish colonialism in California, where he lives, to construct evocative, handcrafted, art-objects.
Nathan Cordova comes from a family of storytellers with deep roots in Colorado and New Mexico. Facing familial violence and trauma, he photographs the landscapes and people that have shaped his identity. His pictures question the legacies of Spanish colonialism, Catholic patriarchy, Manifest Destiny and white-supremacy as well as their impact on his family and the American southwest. The images make visual these lasting legacies in order to deconstruct dominant culture and facilitate intergenerational healing.
Each edition contains original journal text written in the artist’s own hand and six, 3.75”x3” B&W photographs permanently affixed to each map. A red line, drawn in sharpie, traces the Camino Real through California. On the verso is a 17.5” x 14” archival photograph. There are 4 editions of hand-written text (text copy below) and 25 of each edition for a total of 100, though each is entirely handmade and therefore, unique. Zines range in size from 18.5"-22"H x 15"-17"W. Signed and edition on verso.
It was a little shaky at the stop lights in town but we made it! It will take a new car to make it out here every year. Everything I hear about him is how much of a bad-ass he was back in the day. What happened? He calls me once a month and he’s quick to cry. He offered me his bed but I can’t, with his hip he needs it more than me. I‘ve got my bed roll so I think I’ll take the floor."
You would have loved the drive in. The aspens are turning and the weather dropped ten or twenty degrees a few days ago. I don’t think I’m mad at you anymore. Weren’t you just trying to hold your family together? The way you treated me or reacted sometimes, I’m still not OK with it, but I think I understand a little better. I wish we could have talked about this."
I’m right where your dad and Juanita went to high school; or finishing school they called it. This is where Juanita got her teaching certificate before going to Pagosa Junction. Did you ever visit? What about Pagosa Junction? Would you be proud of my interest in our history? Would you be able to express enthusiasm? Or, would you express disinterest to preserve your power over me? I long for an adult conversation with you. I wish we could have been buds on this trip. I love you so much. I miss you a lot."
It’s my last day and I’ve learned so much. I can picture you as the little child, struggling violently to feel seen. Our family is so filled with complex contradiction. We appear united even as some carry more than their fair share. You missed them, but was the distance worth it? You did your best. I imagine it’s tough when you’re all just kids.
I love you. Until the next time."