Che Forever

Essay 447 • Jun 1st 2020

Alberto Korda photographed Che Guevara in 1960 during an honorary march for the victims of the La Coubre explosion. Korda’s attention was not specifically on Che, but the entire event. This image remained largely unknown for years. The publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli acquired the rights to Che's Bolivian diary in 1967 and looked for a suitable portrait. Feltrinelli distributed thousands of copies of the selected image, to raise awareness of Che's situation. After his execution, he published the Bolivian diary with the photo as the cover. This image has become history, one of the most famous portraits ever.

Is it because of Che's ideas or his personal story? That when you die young, an advantageous, youthful image is preserved forever? The fact that opinions still differ on whether Che was a hero or a terrorist? Or the expression on Che's face - a determined visionary? Or simply because Che looks very good?

During a longer stay in Cuba, I strolled through the streets of Havana in search of Mr. Guevara. It really doesn't take long to find a depiction of his picture – he is omnipresent, but appears quite different every time.


Maja Jerrentrup works both as photographer and professor of media and photography at Ajeenkya DY Patil University, India. She is Nikon ambassador and Adobe partner. Her work includes staged and documentary photography.