Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Topics

Photographer of the Cuban Revolution: An Interview with Alberto Korda

StoryApril 25, 2000
Watch iconWatch Full Show

There is perhaps no image of the revolution more universal than the caption of Che Guevara, the legendary Argentine guerrilla fighter, taken in March of 1960— the trademark cap with the star of the revolution on his head, his eyes gazing into the distance. In fact, except for the famous shot of Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grid, this particular photograph has been reproduced more than any other in history.

This image of Guevara can be found on T-shirts, hats, magazines, and on all sorts of consumer products around the world. In Cuba, it is perched over the Plaza de la Revolucion — the revolutionary square — and it is in hundreds of revolutionary wall paintings throughout Cuba’s cities and countryside.

While Democracy Now! producer María Carrión was in Cuba last month, she had the chance to interview the man who took this photograph 40 years ago. He is Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, known throughout the world as Korda.

For the first 10 years after the triumph of the revolution, Korda was the inseparable photographer of Fidel Castro. His black and white shots documented Castro’s triumphant entrance into Havana; they captured the weary militia fighters, both men and women, as they celebrated the ouster of the dictator Fulgencio Batista; and they provided intimate portraits of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara both at public gatherings and in their private moments, as they fished or played chess.

Korda’s famous shot of Che Guevara has been reproduced around the world, and many people have profited from the selling of that image-except, until recently, for Korda himself. He never copyrighted the photograph, and when he gave a copy away to Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, he never imagined that Feltrinelli would become a millionaire by selling posters of that picture after Che’s death. Korda received nothing from those sales.

On this hot Havana morning, Korda sits in his modest Havana apartment, where the walls are adorned with his work, including a blown-up print of his famous Che photograph. To the side of it hangs a picture of the Mona Lisa wearing Che’s revolutionary cap. The living room is crammed with people: Korda’s son and grandson are visiting, as well as an American film crew that is putting the finishing touches on a documentary about Korda’s life.

Guest:

  • Alberto Diaz Gutierrez (Korda), renowned Cuban photographer. Speaking at his home in Havana, Cuba.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation