Personal 2

Monday, 4 October 2010

Alberto Korda 1928-2001

Cuba Revolutionary

   

Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez or better known as Alberto Korda was a Cuban photographer and became famous when he took this photo of Che Guevara (above). In the photograph Che Guevara eyes are framed by heavy brows, a single-starred beret pulled over his hair, stares out of the shot with intensity.


The photo was taken after a Belgian transport exploded in Havana harbour and killed a number of people. Che Guevara was near the stage where Fidel was giving his speech, and Korda was surprised on the expression Che gave so he quickly snapped two photos before he disappeared off stage. The photo was taken by ‘pure chance’ with a Leica M2 with a 90mm lens. After the memorial service, the photos of Fidel, Che and the events of the day were developed back at his studio and a few were selected to be published. The photo of Che was not one of those selected but it remained part of Korda’s personal collection.

He was a photographer for the Cuban newspaper called ‘Revolucion’ in 1960 (when he took the famous image). He never received any royalties for the image, although in 2000 he sued Smirnoff over the use of the image in advertisement. Because he believes it was disrespectful to him and his nation. Commenting on the illegal use of his photograph, the photographer said, "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, but I am categorically against the exploitation of Che's image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che".
Although Korda suffered a fatal heart attack in Paris in 2001. The image is still repeated everywhere and in a variety of mediums for instance  t-shirts, walls, cigarettes and more. It has transformed into pop art and its appeal had not faded throughout time. My personal favourite ad is the 'Stabilo Boss' below.
 “Mark the most important - get the whole story.” Stabilo boss advertisement (2007) Agency: Service plan Hamburg, Germany
The marker has scribbled and masked the photograph. This ad came out in 2007. I notice that the agency picked out the key items that represent the famous photo which are the eyes and the red star on the military hat. This ad photograph is in red, white & black which makes the ad look bold and eye catching. I believe the message that Stabilo Boss advertisement is trying to signify to me it that capturing or ‘marking’ the important stuff to you is by writing it down telling a story. For instance like photographs they capture moments. On the other hand the ad shows a highlighter this can also simply means marking/highlighting important information.


     


Written by Kawsar Ahmed



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