The Mona Lisa of photography
che This is the most famous photograph in the history of photography. It is the Mona Lisa of photography. But it wasn’t a portrait. His face simply showed up in a crowd shot by Alberto Korda, a fashion photographer.   
It changed Korda’s life, as it has changed the lives of millions of people. If you search on Ernesto Che Guevara’s name you will encounter a myriad of efforts to debunk him, to demonize him, to disparage him, but he lives on in the eyes of millions and millions of people as a symbol of revolution against tyranny, revolution against abject materialism, revolution against the oppression of labor by capital, and labeling him as a commie demon is as childish as labeling all our entrepreneurs as demons.
You can show pictures of Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Koch Bros., Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Vladimir Putin, and they mean less than nothing compared to this utterly gripping photograph of Che Guevara, and that’s why it’s the most famous of all photographs. Not even the over-exposed Adolph Hitler comes close to Che’s photographic fame, and yet Che, unlike Hitler, didn’t like being photographed, although he often took pictures of others.
  Perhaps its runner-up might be one of the more famous photographs of Frida Kahlo, a fellow rebel and leftist.
  It catches something we can’t quite express, something we intuitively know is important to us, and the more the man is demonized, as many great men and women have been throughout history, the more he compels us.
  Che, like Hypatia and so many saints, is a martyr. Like Hypatia, he was an intellectual. But he was perhaps more Boedica, the Celtic queen who warred against the Romans.
  Yet, none of these comparisons explain why this particular photograph, which wasn’t even meant to portray Che, has taken such a hold on our imagination. It doesn’t explain why marching demonstrators bear Che’s image in their arms. It doesn’t explain why crowds still chant Che all over the world. For that explanation we must go to artists, but meanwhile this 2008 documentary provides invaluable clues.
Copyright © Djelloul Marbrook. All rights reserved worldwide.
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