In 1960, Cuban photographer Alberto “Korda” Díaz captured a photo of Ernesto “Che” Guevara during a mass funeral for the victims of an explosion in Havana harbor – a watershed moment in the emerging new Cuba. The photograph was only published once in the first year after it was taken. In fact, for the subsequent seven years, it existed as a simple cropped print, pinned on Korda’s studio wall, seen only by those who visited his studio. But history conspired to enable this dynamic portrait to explode on the world scene in 1968 throughout Europe and Latin America, when it became the symbolic of protest and dissent. Almost 50 years later, the image remains one of the most dominant icons of the twentieth century. In the last decade, with the establishment of the Internet, the image has once again traveled the globe in many forms. From protest to commerce, it is constantly transformed and reinvented.
Worn by millions, in various incarnations throughout the globe, the image resonates beyond the memory of the man and has come to signify a more general notion of rebellion for those who think outside the mainstream. From radical chic to radical politics, Korda’s Che image is saint, guerrilla and fashion statement. It is considered to be the most reproduced image in the history of photography.
Why and how did this photograph become so important?
CHEVOLUTION is a film about a photograph. It explores how the Che image traveled from Korda’s studio in Havana to the streets of Europe and beyond. We investigate how this portrait with its enigmatic gaze became a symbol for countless visions for change. Today many people learn about Che Guevara from first knowing the image on the t-shirt. The iconic image preceding the man and his vision.