If I tell you Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez… does it ring any bell? Not really! If instead, I call him Alberto Korda… or simply… “Korda”? Any better? If I tell you: the author / photographer of the most iconic picture ever taken? Do you now get it? El Che, 1960. A couple of shots taken quickly, one horizontal, between another man and a palm tree, one vertical, with the palm tree in the frame, A lucky day for Korda. An almost christic picture of a man, with voluntary eyes looking far away, lots of hair, a beret, the mouth closed… a “guerillero heroico”, modern warrior, eternal warrior, the symbol of a generation. Alberto Korda followed Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution for many years and documented the times, from the lengthy speeches of Fidel, to the visit of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, to Fidel and Che Guevara playing golf, to Fidel in New York or in Moscow, to the people of Cuba. The exquisite Cobra museum of modern art in Amstelveen gives a large view of Korda’s work under the title “Korda, Cuba, Che, Glamour”, from the 1960’s to the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Not only a journalist documenting his times but also a true artist, whether when photographing the leaders of the Cuban revolution, the ordinary Cuban people or the women, dear to Korda. He was a simple man, caught in extraordinary circumstances, but Korda remained an artist and he described his work, quoting Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”, and Korda to add “that’s a photographer”…

Contact sheet from March 5, 1960 ©Alberto Korda
Fidel Castro et Ernest Hemingway, 1960 ©Alberto Korda
El Quijote de la Farola [Don Quixote of the Lamp Post] 1959 ©Alberto Korda
David and Goliath, Washington DC, 19 April 1959 ©Alberto Korda
Model Norka photographed by her husband, 1959 ©Alberto Korda