From an aesthetic perspective, I found the choices which the photographer, Alberto Korda made in his production/distribution of the image to be interesting. First, the fact that he chose to crop the image, taking it completely out of context and immortalizing El Che as some sort of statue bust floating in a gray haze. I think that this is the major aspect which affected the popularity of the image as an icon rather than a photograph (to be honest I really sort of forgot, as I’m sure many people do that the image itself actually came from an original photograph and thought that it was drawn or produced in some other way). Second, I find it interesting that the image did not make it out until 1967, after Che’s untimely death. In a sense, the fact that both the image of his dead body and the Korda image came out at the same time crystallized his portrayal as a martyr and an icon of revolution. On one hand, as Casey puts it, the death picture exudes some sense of serenity in a Christlike way (not a weakness which his killers had hoped to portray), while the Korda image takes care of the powerful, moral figure side of his culturally constructed self. I think in a sense the images work together to piece Che into the icon we see in the Korda image. I really liked the first chapter because it deals with the aesthetics integral in the creation of the icon as well as breaks down the creation of the image, and it’s significance at the time it was shot. Really it helps to put the photo, not the icon into context for me.
4 responses to “Che photo as art”