Sunday, April 27, 2008

The many interpretations of Che

Added links to the photos.

I focused on images that I could find on photo sharing sites and Google searches,
looking primarily for photos taken by tourists. Most of my research centered on how Che's image is used in Cuba, but I did find at least one statue in Bolivia. I also tried to contrast the Cuban depictions of Che with some that are more reflective of American pop culture.


Most of the images I found from Cuba depict Che as stoic, heroic, and a part of their history. I found several photos of road signs and murals with Che's face and the words, "Hasta la victoria siempre". His image is also on a lot of official government things, such as the Ministry of Interior building in the Plaza de la Revolucion and some of their currency. The large bust in Bolivia is a common photo, but I thought this shot was one of the more interesting angles since it set up the cross in the background, invoking the images of Jesus or the crucifixion. I thought many of the shots taken in Cuba and Bolivia create an interesting juxtaposition with some of the many interesting interpretations we find in pop culture. Each category of images provides insight into specific cultures and helps us understand meaning behind the image for that culture. For Cubans, Che's image provokes a much different reaction than most Americans and I think this can be seen in the way the image is used in both cultures.

Notes about the data collection:
Images found in Flickr were found through group searches. I logged onto Flickr, selected the Groups drop-down menu and chose Search for a Group. The search keywords used were "Che Guevara", "Che Guevara Cuba", and "Che Guevara currency". Each search yielded nearly an identical set of groups found. The Groups chosen were Cuba Admira al Che Guevara, Ernesto, and Che Guevara. These groups were selected mainly because they contained the most images and most members. The specific images chosen were picked by browsing through the groups photos, looking for specific photos taken of murals, road signs, portraits, and other art found in Cuba. After stumbling onto the photo of the coin, I conducted a Google image search, using the keywords "Che Guevara currency" to find the image of the paper money. Pop culture images found on Flickr were found through the same groups used for the Cuba pictures, with the exception of the "I Want You To Rebel" poster. This was found by conducting a Google image search for "Che Guevara". The idea was to look for images that use the famous Korda photo in pop culture. The photo of the large bust of Che was found on Flickr. Instead of searching for groups that contained photos from Bolivia, I did a search across everyone's uploads. Next to the Search box in the upper right-hand corner, I clicked the drop-down menu and chose Everyone's Uploads. In the new search box I typed "Che Guevara Bolivia." I was specifically looking for photos of the bust.

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