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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Eighty-two: A city portrait -- impressions of Havana, Cuba. > Revolutionary icon, Havana, Cuba, 2012
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Revolutionary icon, Havana, Cuba, 2012
09-MAY-2012

Revolutionary icon, Havana, Cuba, 2012

The streets and alleys of Havana still bear vivid marks of Cuba’s 53 year-old revolution. The most enduring revolutionary icon is the stark line drawing of Cuban military and political leader Che Guevara, based on a photograph made in 1960 by newspaper photographer Alberto Korda. It has since become a worldwide symbol of revolution. There are dozens of such Guevara images in the city – this version is on the wall of a shipping terminal on Havana Bay. I photographed it early in the morning, while it was still in the shadows. I waited for the lone figure to approach, giving the image its sense of scale and purpose. The heroic icon looms large just ahead of this man, a fading black ink drawing floating on an aging field of peeling paint. It is all part of Cuban history now – a rebellious metaphor now showing its age – and its scars.

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1/80s f/2.5 at 9.2mm iso80 full exif

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Phil Douglis06-Jul-2012 04:05
Thanks, Jude, for coming to this gallery -- you would love the street photography in old Havana.
Jude Marion17-Jun-2012 22:51
Gorgeous capture of this iconic image of Che.
Phil Douglis17-Jun-2012 21:46
It is wonderful to see you back in my galleries, Ruth -- it's been awhile. Congratulations on your marriage and thanks for commenting on this image. He does indeed look like his dragging his feet -- life in places such as Cuba can do that to people. Thanks for also seeing a potential message in the abstract blemish looming large on the wall behind him, too. If something in an image can stir the imagination, it is all to the good. And welcome back!
ruthemily16-Jun-2012 20:02
Cecilia, it looks like a pig to me! And that adds some meaning I think, the shady 'character' we see looming up large behind the man.
He seems to be dragging his feet somehow, well, that's the sense I get from this image.
Nice to be back, Phil :)
Phil Douglis03-Jun-2012 16:05
Thanks for your comment, Itolksdorf --- glad you like this image.It is one of my favorites from Havana. As for your suggested crop, I left the space to the left side of that window in order to fully include the brown door below it, which I considered a "doorway to the past." It is the only ground level entry to the old terminal within my frame. If we were to cut the picture at the left window, we would destroy the edge of that doorway.
ltolksdorf02-Jun-2012 05:31
great image
Phil Douglis30-May-2012 18:27
I forgive your excursion into fantasy, Celia. A perverse sense of humor is a huge asset in photography.

Tim: thanks for referring to your own image from Tunisia. Che is everywhere on earth, a universal symbol of rebellion. Tunisia revolted against Ben Ali soon after you and I visited, while Cuba still remembers its own struggle against Batista more than 50 years ago.
Tim May30-May-2012 16:23
Reminds me of an image I made in Tunisia word "> word The spirit of revolution. Here it is an old revolution coming to grips with the reality of governing 50 plus years later, and in Tunisia the revolution yet to happen.
Cecilia Lim29-May-2012 21:23
I appreciate the sense of history that still lives within the walls of Cuba, but what is that big puffy blue thing with two dark eyes and a mouth on the lower left wall in your image? It looks like one of the creatures from the "Ghostbusters" movie or the fat ghost in Casper! Now I can't stop noticing it in your picture! The incongruity is hilarious! (I'm sorry for ruining this! I can't help it)
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