Korda « Guerrillero Heroico » (Havane 1960)
It all started with a photograph. We are in Havana, Cuba, on March 5, 1960, The atmosphere is grave and solemn. Ernesto Guevara is attending the funeral of Cuban victims of a terrorist attack attributed to the CIA. Millions of people are gathered, filled with emotion, anger, rage and determination. Emblematic figures are present, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir who came to take part in the growing anger and listen to Fidel Castro’s speech.
Alberto Diaz Gutierez, also known as “Korda”, photographer, is in the crowd. Standing in front of the official stand, he notices the sudden and furtive arrival of Ernesto Guevara, also known as “El Che Guevara”, who approaches the railing surrounding the stand. The moment is brief and intense. Korda perceives the intensity of Che Guevara’s grief and determination in his eyes. Korda suddenly realizes the instant is decisive and takes a low angle shot of Che Guevara to highlight the messianic expression in his look.
When developing the shot, Korda will crop it to get the final original photograph, removing a silhouette on the left and a pa lm tree on the right to isolate the portrait of Che Guevara and immortalize Che as an iconic figure using his exceptional artistic talent and personal sensitivity. Thanks to Korda’s ingenuity, the creative and emotional power emanating from the photo entitled “Guerrillero Heroico” makes this work one of the most famous photos of the 20th Century. Korda’s photograph portrays all the virtues attributed to Che Guevara: honesty, bravery, selflessness, defiance, loyalty, pride, with a dose of virility.
Che Guevara’s determination expresses his fortitude (towards the United States), his faith (in the future of the Revolution), neglected appareance (beard, long hair blowing in the wind) and his tenacious perseverance (with the commander’s star on his beret).