New Mexico Art Tells its History

Navajo Women Talking, Gallup

Navajo Women Talking, Gallup, 1940 (printed 1993)
John S. Candelario (American, 1916 - 1993)
gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
Museum purchase, 1993

John Candelario sharpened knives for Georgia O’Keeffe, became a millionaire at age 22, was the 1958 NM state chess master, an FBI operative, a filmmaker and a seventh-generation New Mexican. He also took photographs. He was born John Weeks, son of an English father and Hispanic mother, with bits of German and Scot mixed in. Candelario's photographs clearly and crisply revealed the people and places of Northern New Mexico, relying on his special combination of artistic sensibility and technical mastery. The 1930s and 1940s saw the peak of his photographic output, and while he worked in both black-and-white and color photography, it is his platinum prints that reflect his major contribution as a photographer.

Reflective Questions and Activities:


Locate the Navajo Nation on a map.

  • How many square miles does it cover?
  • What kinds of roads exist now for people to travel?
  • How might this compare with the 1940’s as shown in the photograph?
  • What were the roads like before New Mexico statehood?
  • How big was the Navajo nation at that time?
  • What was one of their main purposes for travel, and how did they do it?
E Compare this mode of travel to other means of transportation in other regions of the country at the time. How did people get around in their cities? How did they cross the country?  



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