I found out recently that this photograph of Che Guevara – called Guerrillero Heroico/Heroic Guerrilla Fighter – is the most reproduced image in photographic history. It was taken by Alberto Korda with a Leica M2 on March 5, 1960 in Havana, Cuba, and is said to be the most famous photograph in history. Corda refused to take any payment for the photograph, believing that allowing the photograph to be freely distributed was the best way for Che’s revolutionary ideals to spread. He only sued once, when Smirnoff Vodka used the image in a campaign. Corda believed Guevara would not like his image used in this way.
The famous photo is fourth down, third from left on the original negative sheet below, and was later cropped to remove the other person and the tree.
The Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick used Korda’s image to create his own stylised posters (below)
He created these images without copyright because he wanted them to be reproduced. He put his initial – F – on the left shoulder of the image. He later signed the copyright over to a paediatric cardiology hospital in Havana, Cuba so that all future proceeds would go to the hospital (Guevara was a medical doctor). Fitzpatrick gifted the original print to Guevara’s widow, for his archive.
Read all this and more here.
And look what else Fitzpatrick made!
Interesting how that iconic image was only copyrighted when proceeds would benefit a hospital in Cuba. Thank you for sharing the story of that image, Janet.