Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Anniversary of 'Guerrillero Heroico'

It isn't my habit to discuss photography in this blog, although I have done so on special occasions.

And today is such an occasion.

It was on this day in 1960 that Alberto Korda snapped the picture of Che Guevara that is said to have been reproduced more than any other photographic image, the very symbol of a revolutionary leader.

The photo was taken at a memorial service for the victims of a harbor explosion on a freighter in Havana.

Korda named the photo "Guerrillero Heroico," which means "Heroic Guerrilla." He felt that it captured Guevara's calm yet determined nature.

"As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died, I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world," Korda said.

There are some reproductions he probably never imagined.

I signed up with Facebook a couple of years ago. When I did, I connected with a former journalism student of mine. He'd been playing with Photoshop, and he had inserted his face into the iconic portrait that was taken 51 years ago today.

I had to wonder if he realized what he was doing. Did he know Che Guevara's story?

I can only assume he did. He was always a bright student.

He must know the story of Che Guevara. He is, after all, the subject of the world's most famous photo, according to the Maryland Institute College of Art.