Navajo Code Talkers' Silver Ceremony, 2001 | by Michael Gorman

$150.00Price

Image size is 12" x 12" (30.48 x 30.48 cm)

on 14 x 14 paper [approx] (35.56 x 35.56 cm)

 

Options:

Add Matting +$25.00 - Photo will be placed in a 16x16 double mat signed by Michael Gorman, ready to place into a frame of the same size.

 

Add Frame +$150.00 - Photo will be double matted and signed by Michael Gorman and placed into a anodized black metal frame by Neilson with non-glare/UV protection acrilic (Please allow additional time for delivery - +2-3 weeks) *ORDERS PLACED by DECEMBER 4th can be framed and arrive before December 24th

 

Gorman Hall & Navajo Nation Capitol - Window Rock, Arizona

 

On May 4th, 1942 twenty-nine Navajo men aging from 15 to 35 were sworn into the Marine Corps for “Special duty”. These men – coming from the boarding school generation of English only policies for Native American children - would be asked to develop a code using their Navajo language. The code they developed remains the only verbal U.S. military code never to be broken. By the war’s end, some 400+ Navajos had been trained as Code Talkers fighting in every battle from Guadalcanal through the Occupation of Japan.

 

In 2001, 56 years after the end of the war,  the Navajo Code Talkers finally recieved national honors and decorations. 29 specially minted Congressional Gold Medals were bestowed upon the 'First Twenty-Nine' and approximately 375 Congressional Silver Medals were created for the Navajos who followed them, graduated the Navajo Code Talker School and had been given the designation "MOS 642-Code Talker".

 

Different from the Congressional Medal of Honor, The Congressional Gold and Silver Medals are among the most distinguished awards Congress can bestow. Each medal is uniquely designed for the recipient, then sculpted and struck at the Philadelphia Mint.


The front of the medal features two Code Talkers communicating a radio message. Centered along the top of the medal is the inscription "NAVAJO CODE TALKERS." Centered along the bottom is "BY ACT OF CONGRESS 2000." The reverse bears the Navajo Code Talkers emblem with "USMC," the Marine Corps emblem and "WWII" centered along the top of the medal. Centered along the bottom is the inscription "Diné Bizaad Yee Atah Naayéé' Yik'eh Deesdlíí" - meaning "The Navajo language was used to defeat the enemy."

 

Photo Options
  • Creating This Image

    I'm often asked about how this image was created. Was it a double exposure or sandwiched negative?

    No, I used two seperate negatives printed twice on Ilford silver paper. I also employed a split filter technique along with careful dodging and burning to create the original silver prints in 2001.

    It has been requested many times to create additional prints, but I lost track of my edition (I was 17) and do not want to break over the original edition number. I decided that I would print these digital versions with enough chages to seperate them from that first silver print edition.

    I captured the original negatives using my grandfather's Canon TX 35mm camera with a 55mm 1.8 lens on November 24th 2001. I photographed the then newly built Window Rock Veterans Memorial Park ealier in the day then headed over to Gorman Hall were the Silver ceremony was to be held.

    I worked from the original negatives, using adobe photoshop to completely clean the image and bring out details near impossible with the film process. I layered the images together similarly to how I did in the darkroom, using masks and blending instead of stencils and dodging. And, I adjusted the size of the flags on the flag poles. The final image is slightly bigger than my silver prints at 12" x 12".

    Taos Photography and Print Services prints each photo on beautiful 300 gsm acid free paper using archival inks and I inspect and sign each print by hand.

    This is an open edition and I want to price it as fairly as possible to allow anyone with a connection to this story to be able to enjoy the image.

    I began my study of photography in 1999. I was shooting film at the time and printing silver prints in the darkroom. In that first year I shot many landscapes around the red rocks of Sedona and experiemented with composition using the surrounding of my school. 

    In 2000, President Clinton signed into law the "Honoring The Navajo Code Talkers Act" and work was begun on creating the medals and planning the awards. I travelled with my grandmother, Mary who would accept my grandfather, Carl's,  medal to Washington D.C. where Presidnet Bush awarded 4 of the last 5 surviving First Twenty-Nine with the medals. The remaining 25 were accepted by widows and family members of the Code Talkers. In November of the same year, the Navajo Nation hosted the silver ceremony at Gorman Hall.

     

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