From the back roads of New Mexico and out-of-the-way fields in southern Colorado to urban hinterlands in South Texas, photographer Bruce F. Jordan evokes the startling beauty and unique world of ethnic Mexican cemeteries in En Recuerdo de: The Dying Art of Mexican Cemeteries in the Southwest. These historic and often forgotten cities of the dead stand as testaments to the brilliance of Mexican artisans and craftsmen, the importance of kinship and community among ethnic Mexicans in the Southwest, and the perseverance of marginalized communities to honor and care for ancestors in death.
Jordan’s sympathetic storytelling evokes for readers the atmosphere of many of these cemeteries. His arresting photographs are accompanied by his lively captions describing the significance of Mexican funerary carving traditions and the relationship of ethnic Mexican memory to cemeteries, and by Bryce Milligan’s interview with the photographer. With essays by Martina Will de Chaparro and Tony Mares that place the cemeteries within the unique historical context of the American Southwest, En Recuerdo de (In Memory of) illuminates these myriad lost cities of the dead and the significance of death and dying in Mexican culture.
Bruce F. Jordan is a documentary photographer and a frequent guest speaker at photography workshops. He is the author of Texas Trilogy: Life in a Small Texas Town and Early Texas Schools: A Photographic History. His photographs have been featured in numerous exhibits including at the New Braunfels Museum of Art and Music and the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, among others.
Martina Will de Chaparro is the author of Death and Dying in New Mexico.
Tony Mares is professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico. His most recent book is Astonishing Light: Conversations I Never Had with Patrociño Barela.
Bryce Milligan is the publisher of Wings Press, in San Antonio, Texas; the author of over a dozen award-winning collections of poetry, young adult fiction, and children’s books; and the editor of several anthologies.
“Bruce Jordan’s photographic abilities are technically superb, but he is also emotionally linked to his subject. Beyond the mere record, Jordan exhibits an eloquent vision that carries to one’s heart and soul!”—Lionel Delevingne, coauthor of Drylands, a Rural American Saga
“A striking and provocative set of images of Mexican American funerary decorations. I find them powerful and engaging. . . . The written material nicely complements the photographs by suggesting different ways that readers might contextualize them. This is a distinctive and worthwhile book.”—Benjamin H. Johnson, author of Bordertown: The Odyssey of an American Place