I first came across this famous Che Guevara iconic image when I was reading a story called “One man’s freedom fighter is an another mans terrorist”, I loved the image so much I have it tattooed on my left shoulder.
The Story Behind Che’s Iconic Photo
This famous photo of Che Guevara has become one of the most reproduced images ever, rivalling those of the “Mona Lisa” and Marilyn Monroe . It was Che as deity—and went viral long before the advent of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. From Bolivia to the Congo, from Vietnam to South Africa, from the U.S.S.R. to the U.S.A., Korda’s Che became the apostle of anticapitalism and the ultimate icon for peaceful social activists everywhere.
How has this photo made the rounds from the student barricades of Paris to the album cover of Madonna’s American Life, from Jim Fitzpatrick’s psychedelic posters to Jean-Paul Gaultier’s sunglasses.It has appeared on cigar boxes to condoms and the Che Christ to gay-pride Che, from dorm room to dorm room and refugee camp to refugee camp Korda’s photo has become an icon.
Alberto Korda will always be remembered for his famous Che image Guerrillero Heroico (“Heroic Guerrilla Fighter”).
it was captured on March 5, 1960, in Havana Cuba at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion (The French freighter LA Coubre exploded in the Havana harbour on the 4th of March 1960)
By the end of the 1960s, the image, in conjunction with Guevara’s subsequent actions and eventual execution, helped solidify the charismatic and controversial leader as a cultural icon.
In 1967 Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick used the “Heroic Guerrilla Fighter
“The first image I did of Che was psychedelic, it looks like he is in seaweed. His hair was not hair; it was shapes that I felt gave it an extra dimension. That was the image I produced for the magazine and that was done before he died and that is the important thing about that image. At first it did not print. It was considered far too strong and revolutionary. I was very inspired by Che’s trip to Bolivia. He went there with the intent to overthrow the intensely corrupt government, helped by the Americans at the time, and that’s where he died. I thought he was one of the greatest men who ever lived and I still do in many ways. And when he was murdered, I decided I wanted to do something about it, so I created the poster. I felt this image had to come out, or he would not be commemorated otherwise, he would go where heroes go, which is usually into anonymity.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, 2005
The Story Behind Che’s Iconic PhotoThe USA and fame.
“Heroic Guerrilla Fighter” made its American debut in 1968 on New York City Subway billboards, when the image appeared in painted form by Paul Davis for a poster advertising the February issue of Evergreen Review Paul Davis has stated that he was “inspired by Italian paintings of martyred saints and Christ”, in his romanticised version of Che, after that Korda’s photo would always have an influence on art and culture.