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Che's Afterlife: The Legacy of an Image

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  116 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In 1960, Cuban photographer Alberto Korda captured fabled revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in what has become history's most reproduced photo. Now Michael Casey tells the remarkable story of this image, detailing its evolution from a casual snapshot to an omnipresent graphic—plastered on everything from T-shirts to vodka to condoms—and into a copyrighted brand. As Casey ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by Vintage
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Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This a fascinating, thoughtful and insightful study of "Guerrillero Heroico," the famous photograph of Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda on March 5, 1960. Without ever losing sight of the political and ideological ironies underpinning the legacy of the photo, Michael Casey has developed a clear-eyed narrative of the photo's cultural history; including its uses as propaganda, art, intellectual property, spiritual talisman and a conveyor of sacred values.

Shelved appropriately in the "Cultural Stu
Alex Paramo
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was an interesting read probably because the subject matter is powerful and eternally relevant. With any book regarding Ernesto Che Guevara the reader, probably unfairly, expects the author to take an ideological position which this author does not until the very end. It is until the authors disclosure that the book reaches 4 stars otherwise had the author only relied on one image to prove his thesis the book would've proven too light in scholarship.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's undeniable that Che means a multiplicity of different things to different people. His prevalence in popular culture is as fascinating as the polarized opinions he inspires. For some, he is an avenging saint, for others a merciless butcher. Fewer people, it seems, take a middle ground of regarding him as a human man expressing a flawed ideology, driven by an admirable outrage at poverty and inequality who nevertheless committed awful acts in pursuing them. But, according to Casey, this is th ...more
Aug 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Michael Casey has an interesting idea here: basically, a biography of an image, in this case the Alberto Korda photograph of Che Guevera, which, in its many guises, could be the single most reproduced image in the world. Casey is strong on why the image serves so well as "branding" for so many different types of groups, usually revolutionary of some sort, but often with completely different values and tactics than Che espoused. Less effective are his inevitable, too long and lacking any real ins ...more
If you want to know who the heck that guy is that you see everywhere, and why you see it everywhere - this might be the book you're looking for. The author take a good try at examining the extent to which the Che image is used, what it means, and who has the rights to use it in those manners. The analysis is a bit dense in some places, but at least Casey is giving the reader something to chew on.

[My star rating is based upon how well I think the author researched and analyzed Che's image - not
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
The long, strange afterlife of the 1960 Alberto Korda photograph, on protest banners, t-shirts, designer t-shirts outlined in sequins, in Mexican liquor ads, framed by coca leaves in Evo Morales' office, as Jesus, burned in effigy in Miami, tattoos, as the subject of copyright suits by Korda and Che's bands of pro and anti-Castro children and as tourist industry.
Dec 08, 2015 is currently reading it
Author: Are you a fan of Che personally?
Salesman: Yes, he sells well.
Is this ridiculous? As a iconically hero who fought for destruction of the capitalist system, his images is now a participant in that system.
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Started off slow and got better at the end as the author stopped reciting facts and started discussing personalities and making observations.
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely riveting. Occasionally a little cliche, but overall, a really fascinating account of history, both of the image, the man, and several Latin American countries - especially Cuba.
Jason S
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
some interesting sections, but much of it was about Korda (who took the photo) and many long tangential anecdotes
May 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Much more than you ever wanted to know about the iconic photograph of Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
Apr 21, 2009 rated it liked it
It had its moments and it wasnt badly done, but I am not Noah and just couldnt maintain my interest in the backstory of brand establishment, even a brand as interesting and ubiquitous as this.
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A native of Perth, Western Australia,
Michael Casey is writer and researcher in the fields of economics, finance, and digital technology and culture. He is currently Senior Advisor for the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT's renowned Media Lab, while also providing consulting services and speaking globally on the evolving digital governance of the global economy. Casey was previously a journalists
More about Michael J. Casey

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