In 1968, when the photographer Don Honeyman was experimenting with Alberto Korda's iconic image of Che Guevara, he discovered
something curious. Trying to achieve the same effect as the first image that had been published in the European press he discovered through
comparison that some canny designer, presumably at the original Italian printers, had made Che slimmer and his face longer, by about one-sixth.
It didn't really do to have a revolutionary who was chubby.
Che's legacy, 40 years after his death in a failed attempt to ignite revolution in Bolivia, rests heavily on an image so powerful and so plastic that it still serves both as a generalised inspiration to rebel and as a vehicle for the sale of everything from ashtrays to T-shirts.
With a view to set the record straight, India International Centre hosted an exhibition, 'Che Guevara in Cuba and Around the World'. In 1959 soon after Castro's ascent to power, Che was sent to Asia and Europe on a goodwill trip by the Cuban leader. Accompanied by a small delegation the leader came to India for a rendezvous with Jawaharlal Nehru. While the two revolutionary leaders dined and talked about what-only-they-can-talk-about, a few shutter happy photographers had a field day. These pictures form an essential part of the collection of 19 photographs exhibited to commemorate his eightieth birth anniversary.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.