Norma Córdova

F i n e   A r t   P r i n t   P r o g r a m

Norma Córdova, aka, shesaidred
1179_30A, from the series, Let it go
Scanned Darkroom C-Print on Archival Digital Paper
Image 5×7″ on 8×10″ paper
Special Edition of 10
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Artist statement

Let it go

Growing up as a Catholic Latina, I was very aware of well defined female roles. At the time, I did not dare to question them out loud. I adhered to them innocently, thinking that this was the way the world operated. In current times, some photographs of females are often stigmatized as one dimensional representations of women to appease the male gaze. But what if one, as a female, chooses and sees herself as a desirable being? Does that mean one’s images should be subject to the old male gaze contextualization? Can women ever fully be free to embrace that side of themselves without inviting judgement? What if the feminine choses that side of themselves? Or better yet, what if the self sees themselves as a desirable being? Does choice not matter? Is that not what freedom means, challenging, or letting go of preconceived notions? I find myself photographing women to liberate myself from my ghosts’ past. I explore femininity collaboratively, photographing close friends and acquaintances. We come together. There is a relationship built on trust. At times, it comes from unspoken words, a synergy between the two. There is a femininity-full, frank, and free. Throughout my work, I use moody narratives that evoke life’s dark nuances of fear, anxiety, and pleasure, freed from worries about “gendered gaze”, just a photographer, trust, and time well spent among friends.


Córdova is a Mexican-American artist, born and raised in Oregon, by hard working Mexican immigrant parents. Her image based work creates illusions that conjure the realms of the imagination without presenting a factual reality. They intersect femininity, self identity, and wonder. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad, and most recently, has been published in The New Yorker, New York Times, Vice, PDN, and Lenscratch. In 2020, Córdova was included in the Top Photolucida 50 Critical Mass, and won best of show at the Center for Photographic Art’s International Juried Exhibition with this very image.

She is currently moving her creative practice to a new home, and helping interpret an asylum case for the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights.