It is exactly fifty years since Argentinian doctor and revolutionary Ernesto Guevara – Che to his amigos – was executed in Bolivia having been captured the day before. Co-incidentally, it’s a hundred years since the October Revolution catapulted the Bolsheviks to power.
Such historic symmetry must have meant something at the time. At an exhibition in 2006 the V&A devoted to that star-capped image [3,2], Alberto Korda’s original, March 1960 contact sheet was shown.
Eleven frames feature Castro, three of six clearly show Simone de Beauvoir & Jean-Paul Satre [4,4; 5,4; 6,4] while two, taken nano-seconds apart are Guevara [3,2; 4,2].
The most reproduced image on the planet resulted from chance, milliseconds in time. Eleven years on from that V&A show and the astounding significance of those moments continue to ricochet around the memory of it.
He trained as a doctor and portraits of him in earlier, civilian times demonstrate the radical alteration in him by virtue of the revolving of his perspective.
What happened to his mind to transform a gentle, idealistic soul into the grated rind of desiccated idealist?
Events, dear boy. Events. But what is it that has the power to harden a man and remove all the light and kindness?
Whatever it is, avoid it.