Viva ©he!

READERS of a certain age will definitely recognise this image. It sold millions as a poster - according to [the late] Alberto Korda more than two million in the months following the death of Ernesto "Che" Guevara alone.

Image © Alberto Korda
Korda has a special interest because it's derived from a photo he took in the later hours of a speech by Fidel Castro. But he got nothing for the poster or thousands of other uses.

For him, the last straw was when advertising agency Lowe Lintas used his photo in a campaign for a brand of vodka which the Freelance wouldn't dream of giving extra publicity to. He sued the agency and the Rex picture agency - and received a handsome out-of-court settlement, which he donated to Cuban child welfare

The principle was more important to him than the cash: he wanted, and got, recognition that he had the moral right of integrity in the photo. "Alcohol and Che Guevara have nothing in common," he said, urging all artists to do more to defend their rights against inappropriate commercial exploitation.

Nov 2000
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Last modified: 22 October 2000
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