The average person will process millions of images in their lifetime.
Che Guevara would have to be on most people’s list, of the 10 most powerful images of the 20th Century. Even today, you will see teenagers wearing ‘Che’ T-Shirts. Most of them do not know who he is or his contribution to South American politics.
This iconic photograph of Che Guevara was taken in Havana on March 5, 1960 at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion. Korda, a supporter of the Cuban Revolution, said he snapped the photo at a time when Guevara’s face showed “absolute implacability.”
Although a modified version of this portrait has been used on products and in media for nearly fifty years, Korda has never asked for any royalties.
Korda wanted the image to be used as a banner, to promote the myth of Guevara and reinforce his ideals. However, he did protest whenever the image was applied to products he thought Guevara would not approve of, such as alcohol, successfully suing Smirnoff for using the photo in a commercial.
He 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.”
I concur with Korda’s ideals of Royalty Free images which can change the world.
My name is Steve Howard. You have been reading the Digital Circus.