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View Full Version : Discuss an Alberto Korda photograph



Ole
09-08-2006, 05:23 PM
No? Doesn't ring a bell?

Well, he shot what might be the most famous of all portraits:

http://www.ils.unc.edu/~michm/Che/korda.gif
http://www.ils.unc.edu/~michm/Che/korda.html

arigram
09-08-2006, 05:30 PM
It's more of a famous crop, the original is more like this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Famousphotoche.jpg

Andy K
09-08-2006, 05:31 PM
I believe he used a Leica and 90mm lens. He thought it was an ok shot, but it was only after it was published in a few papers that it gained popularity. Interestingly Korda never claimed any royalties for the photo's use.

Ole
09-08-2006, 05:50 PM
Interestingly Korda never claimed any royalties for the photo's use.
"Gained" is the word. The picture was published free of royalties in Cuba, but royalties should still have been paid from the rest of the world.
BTW the copyright is still valid, and resides with his son who lives in Norway. :)

blansky
09-08-2006, 06:00 PM
Shave off all that hair, lighten it up a bit and it could be a Leni Riefenstahl..........


Just kidding.



Michael

Andy K
09-08-2006, 06:03 PM
"Gained" is the word. The picture was published free of royalties in Cuba, but royalties should still have been paid from the rest of the world.
BTW the copyright is still valid, and resides with his son who lives in Norway. :)

He did gain $50,000 when he sued Smirnoff for their use of the photograph to promote alcohol. He donated the money to the Cuban Health system.

Jerevan
09-08-2006, 06:18 PM
This photograph (or rather the image) has taken on a life of its own. However much copyrighted, you can put a green hat on his head and have him dance with green martians, and it still is recognisable as Che. I have seen it so many times, in so many slight variations, it is actually hard to look at it and just see it for what it is. I am not even sure it's a good portrait, with the somewhat vacant look and the tight cropping. The knowledge of the history around and the person himself makes the photograph hard to judge by its own merits only.

blansky
09-08-2006, 06:21 PM
I see it as strength and determination.

A great portrait.


Michael

Jerevan
09-08-2006, 06:31 PM
Or Leni Riefenstahl in a wig and fake beard. :D

blansky
09-08-2006, 06:39 PM
Or Leni Riefenstahl in a wig and fake beard. :D

Good point.

Michael

Lee Shively
09-08-2006, 08:57 PM
Poor Che. I read his diaries in the '60s and kinda felt sorry for the poor bastard. Wandering around in the jungles, trying to keep the revolution going while good old Fidel was setting himself up in Havana, exploiting him as a symbol. Ain't it a kick in the ass to realize politics--and politicians--mostly just float in the sewer, no matter what side they're on?

Photography-wise, it's just a portrait that has become an icon. The original horizontal photo was improved with the vertical crop. Korda probably got sick of telling the story and watching the picture get turned into a marketing ploy. Good for him that he finally got a few bucks for the photo but, really, no one outside the photo-crowd knows (or rcares) who made the photo. I look at it and remember how naive and idealistic I was before I realized how bullshit rules, walks and talks in the scheme of things.

Curt
09-08-2006, 09:01 PM
Remember the Maine

copake_ham
09-08-2006, 09:44 PM
Korda died not long ago - and as I recall - in the obits it was noted that he used Tri-X for the shot.

Hey, when you need basic B&W - go with the best! :)

There was a showing at ICP a while ago that displayed the "progression" of this photo from an original news-like pic to a "glorification" of a dead revolutionary to a 1960's and 1970's lithographic icon and on to a current day advertising brand!

Right now they mainly use the image on T-shirts and stuff. But one more generational turn and it will be possible to use Korda's "Che" on a mainstream brand item and it will rival the Coca Cola signature!

Bill Hahn
09-09-2006, 04:18 PM
I would love to have seen that showing at the ICP.

I knew I was getting old when I heard on the Boston radio stations commercials for the Boston NASL team "The Revolution", playing the Jefferson Airplane's song "Volunteers" ("...Got a revolution, got to revolution...") from the album of the same name.

A song calling for revolution is now being used to promote a soccer (excuse me, Europeans, a football) team. You younger folks should expect "Rage Against the Machine" to be used to sell socks in the future....

If you have the DVD set "Adventures In photography", you'll see Korda describing the taking of this photograph.

(Grumpy old man now limps off, stage left.)



There was a showing at ICP a while ago that displayed the "progression" of this photo from an original news-like pic to a "glorification" of a dead revolutionary to a 1960's and 1970's lithographic icon and on to a current day advertising brand!

Right now they mainly use the image on T-shirts and stuff. But one more generational turn and it will be possible to use Korda's "Che" on a mainstream brand item and it will rival the Coca Cola signature!