The photography in the Cuban Revolution

The history of photography in the Cuban Revolution
The history of photography in the Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution Photography and its history

The history of photography in the Cuban Revolution period should be studied starting in its major artists, who focused their creative power on offering to the viewer a true picture of what was happening at that time. Since the Revolution beginning- the main inspiration of the Cuban photojournalism engine – innovative transformations are conducted to demonstrate a radical change that was taking place in the island. According to historians, this cultural process from the photography’s point of view is divided into three main periods. The first is called “The Epic Photography” or “Revivalism”, which takes place between 1959 and 1970. This time period is known for the photographic production of artists such as Raul Corrales – with his pictures “The Dream” and “Cavalry” – and Alberto Korda, with his iconic image of Che Guevara titled “Heroic Guerrilla man” that would immortalize him. This image has also become a symbol of freedom and protest worldwide. The second period is called “Transitional” and is developed between 1970 and 1980. In this period, photographers like Roberto Salas and Rolando Pujol, stand among others. The third one is the so-called “Contemporary Transforming Movement ” which continues today and brings together new generations of photographers such as Ahmed Velasquez, Agustín Borrego, Ernesto Mastrascusa and many others.

Alberto Korda and the photography of the Cuban Revolution

Alberto Dias Gutierrez (Korda), is the most important photography author in the Cuban Revolution. Through his lens he produced the most accurate pictures of the first and heady days of the revolutionary process. In these images, which are full of patriotic fervor excel the ones about farmers waving flags, armed bearded men with rifles, Fidel and Che fishing in their resting hours, enjoying a cigar or playing a legendary round of golf dressed in military uniform. The world’s most famous Cuban photographer took 55,000 photographs related to the Revolution, an achievement taking into account that it was the pre-digital era and in a place where photographic equipment and supplies were not always accessible. However, his greatest achievement is the portrait of Che Guevara he took with his Leica M2 camera on March 5, 1960 in the funeral march on 23 Street in tribute to the victims of “La Coubre” steam ship and whose snapshot Korda titled “Heroic Guerrilla Men”. This artist volunteered his services for the Havana Revolution daily newspaper. In 1959, when Fidel announced his plans to make his first visit to Venezuela the newspaper’s editor sent Korda to covered this historic event. Later that same year, Alberto traveled to the United States to take more iconic images, this time to show Fidel at the Lincoln Memorial. The most revolutionary leader was very fond of photographs that appeared in the newspaper; thus, Korda spent the next nine years accompanying Fidel on all trips. Both maintained a close friendship until Korda’s death occurred in 2001, victim of a heart attack while he was in Paris in one of his exhibitions.

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