World Famous Photographs

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Afghan Girl

Photograph by Steve McCurry


                                                             Title: "Afghan Girl" 
                                                             Photographer: Steve McCurry
                                                             SubjectSharbat Gula
                                                             Camera: Nikon FM2*
                                                             Film: Kodachrome 64
                                                             LensNikkor 105mm f/2.5
                                                             Photo taken onDecember, 1984
                                                             First appeared inCover of National Geographic in June, 1985


When he wandered into an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan in December 1984, National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured one of the most famous portraits the world had ever seen. The Afghan girl with the haunting green eyes captivated everyone. That captivation proved, once again, the power of photography to open eyes—and hearts and minds—with a single image.

McCurry's portrait, which appeared on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, was shot on Kodachrome film, a relationship that lasted for decades. In June 2009, Kodak announced it was retiring the film line and asked McCurry to shoot one of the last Kodachrome rolls. The photographs from that roll will be donated to the George Eastman House museum in Rochester, New York.


Sharbat Gula (Pashto: شربت ګله) (pronounced [ˈʃaɾbat]) (born ca. 1972) is an Afghan woman who was the subject of a famous photograph by journalist Steve McCurry. Gula was living as a refugee in Pakistan during the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan when she was photographed. The image brought her recognition when it was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was approximately 12 years old. Gula was known throughout the world simply as "the Afghan Girl" until she was formally identified in early 2002. . She was approximately 12 years old at the time.

Guerrillero Heroico

Photograph by Alberto Korda


                                                           Title: "Guerrillero Heroico" 
                                                           Photographer: Alberto Korda
                                                           SubjectChe Guvera
                                                           Camera: Leica M2 
                                                           Lens90 mm lens
                                                           Flim Kodak Plus-X pan
                                                           Photo taken on 5th March, 1960
                                                           First appeared in16th April, 1961,Cuban newspaper Revolución
                                                           Korda's roll of film negatives:

Guerrillero Heroico appears on the fourth row down, third picture over (shot horizontally)


On March 5, 1960, President Fidel Castro called a memorial service and mass demonstration at Havana's Colón Cemetery, to honor more than 100 Cubans killed in the suspicious La Coubre explosion the day before. At the time, Guevara (a qualified physician, who personally treated victims of the blast) was Minister of Industry in the new government, and Korda was Castro's official photographer. After a funeral march along the seafront boulevard known as Malecón, Fidel Castro gave a eulogy for the fallen at a stage on 23rd street. Castro made a fiery speech, using the words "Patria o Muerte" ("Homeland or Death") for the first time. Meanwhile, at 11:20 am, Guevara came into view for a few seconds. Korda snapped just two frames of him from a distance of about 25–30 ft (7.6–9.1 m) before he disappeared from sight. Korda immediately realised his photograph had the attributes of a portrait. Later, Korda said of this photograph, "I remember it as if it were today ... seeing him framed in the viewfinder, with that expression. I am still startled by the impact ... it shakes me so powerfully". 

Korda's roll of film negatives. Guerrillero Heroico appears on the fourth row down, third picture over (shot horizontally). 

During the rally, Korda took pictures of Cuban dignitaries and famous French existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, both admirers of Guevara at the time. Included in the film roll were shots of all the speakers and two pictures of Che's brief appearance. The classic picture appears on frame number 40 shot horizontally. 

The first photo had Guevara framed alone between an anonymous silhouette and a palm tree; the second with someone's head appearing above his shoulder. The first picture, with the intruding material cropped out, became Guevara's most famous portrait. The editor of Revolución where Korda worked, decided to only use his shots of Castro, Sartre, and Beauvoir, while sending the Che shot back to Korda. Believing the image was powerful, Korda made a cropped version for himself, which he enlarged and hung on his wall next to a portrait of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and also gave copies to some others as a gift. It was not until 1986 that José Figueroa, an established photographer in his own right who printed for Korda and was his unofficially "adopted" son, suggested they try printing the full frame version of the portrait. Korda continued to print both versions of the image up until his death. 

To take the photo, Korda used a Leica M2 with a 90 mm lens, loaded with Kodak Plus-X pan film. In speaking about the method, Korda humbly remarked that "this photograph is not the product of knowledge or technique. It was really coincidence, pure luck."

Jonathan Green, director of the UCR/California Museum of Photography, has speculated that "Korda's image has worked its way into languages around the world. It has become an alpha-numeric symbol, a hieroglyph, an instant symbol. It mysteriously reappears whenever there's a conflict.”

Guerrillero Heroico has been reproduced more than any other image in the history of photography.By the end of the 1960's the photo turned the charismatic and controversial leader into a cultural icon. Many feel it is the most famous photograph ever taken. Korda has stated that at the moment he shot the picture, he was drawn to Guevara's facial expression, which showed "absolute implacability” as well as anger and pain. Guevara was 31 at the time the photo was taken. 


Dr. Ernesto 'Che' Guevara(Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃe geˈβaɾa]; 14th June, 1928 – 9th October, 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.


As a life-long communist and supporter of the Cuban Revolution until his death, Alberto Korda claimed no payment for his picture. A modified version of the portrait through the decades was also reproduced on a range of different media, though Korda never asked for royalties. Korda reasoned that Che's image represented his revolutionary ideals, and thus the more his picture spread the greater the chance Che's ideals would spread as well. Korda's refusal to seek royalties for the vast circulation of his photograph "helped it become the ultimate symbol of Marxist revolution and anti-imperialist struggle." 

However, Korda did not want commercialization of the image in relation to products he believed Guevara would not support, especially alcohol. This belief was displayed for the first time in 2000, when in response to Smirnoff using Che's picture in a vodka commercial, Korda claimed his moral rights (a form of copyright law) and sued advertising agency Lowe Lintas and Rex Features, the company that supplied the photograph. Lintas and Rex claimed that the image was in the public domain. The final result was an out of court settlement for USD $50,000 to Korda, which he donated to the Cuban healthcare system, stating "if Che was still alive, he would have done the same.

After the settlement, Korda reiterated that he was not against its propagation altogether, telling reporters: 

"As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died, I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world, but I am categorically against the exploitation of Che's image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che."


Giangiacomo Feltrinelli 

Passed out to the occasional friend and published in a few small Cuban publications, Che's image remained relatively unknown for 7 years. The photograph was then acquired by wealthy Italian publisher and intellectual Giangiacomo Feltrinelli in 1967. Feltrinelli had just returned from Bolivia where he had hoped his fame would help in negotiating the release of French journalist and professor Régis Debray. Debray had been arrested in Bolivia in connection with guerrilla operations led by Che Guevara. As Guevara's eventual capture or death appeared to be imminent with the CIA closing in on his whereabouts, Feltrinelli acquired the rights to publish Che's captured Bolivian Diary. At this time Feltrinelli asked Cuban officials where to obtain Guevara images and was directed to Korda's studio where he presented a letter of introduction from the government. The document asked for Korda's assistance in finding a good portrait of Che. Korda knew right away that his favorite image of Che was perfect and pointed to the 1960 shot of Che hanging on the wall, saying that the photo was the best of those he had taken of Che. Feltrinelli agreed and ordered 2 prints. When he returned the next day to pick them up Korda told him that because he was a friend of the revolution he did not have to pay. 

Upon his return to Italy, Feltrinelli disseminated thousands of copies of the poster to raise awareness of Che's precarious situation and impending demise. Later in 1968 after his October 9, 1967 execution, Che's Bolivian Diary with Korda's photo on the cover was released worldwide. Feltrinelli also created posters to promote the book, crediting the copyright to (c) Libreria Feltrinelli 1967 (in the lower left hand corner of the image) with no mention of Korda. By this time, Korda's image had officially entered the public consciousness. Alberto Korda later expounded that if Feltrinelli had paid him just one lira for each reproduction, that he would have received millions. However, Korda also expressed that he forgave him, because through his actions, the image became famous. 

Milan, 1967

Feltrinelli's version of the image was used in October 1967 in Milan, Italy, when spontaneous protests occurred in response to the news of Che's death. Italian photographer Giorgio Mondolfo later stated that "the first time I saw the picture by Alberto Korda, I was not even slightly interested in the author. I was only fifteen, and it was the picture that had drawn us - many for the first time - to gather in the streets, crying Che lives!

Paris Match

Guerrillero Heroico also appeared in the August 1967 issue of Paris Match. Published only a few months before his eventual capture and execution, the issue featured a major article titled "Les Guerrilleros" by journalist Jean Lartéguy. Lartéguy wrote "At a time when Cuban revolutionaries want to create Vietnams all over the world, the Americans run the risk of finding their own Algeria in Latin America." The article ended by asking "Where is Che Guevara?" The caption of the photo read "The official photograph of Che Guevara; on his beret the star, the symbol of the Comandante." It is not known who provided the magazine with the image, and it was also not credited to Feltrinelli. However, with its wide circulation throughout Europe, and its status as an influential news journal, Paris Match could also be viewed as one of the original purveyors of the image. 


During the May 1968 Paris student riots, which eventually led to the collapse of the de Gaulle government, organizer "Danny The Red" utilized Fitzpatrick's rendition of Che during the protests. At this time, Che's image was picked up by the Dutch Anarchist group "The Provos" in Amsterdam, who focused on provoking violent responses from authorities using non-violent means. 

Jim Fitzpatrick 

The original 1968 stylized image created by Jim Fitzpatrick

In 1967, Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick was also using Korda's image as a basis for creating his own stylized posters. Fitzpatrick claims he received a copy of the photograph from the Dutch anarchist group "the Provos", who produced a magazine bearing the group's name. Fitzpatrick remembers that Provo magazine claimed the image originally came to Europe via Jean Paul Sartre. Fitzpatrick's source of the image, then would not have been Feltrinelli. 

"The first image I did of Che was psychedelic, it looks like he is in seaweed. His hair was not hair, it was shapes that I felt gave it an extra dimension. That was the image I produced for the magazine and that was done before he died and that is the important thing about that image. At first it did not print. It was considered far too strong and revolutionary. I was very inspired by Che's trip to Bolivia. He went there with the intent to overthrow the intensely corrupt government, helped by the Americans at the time, and that's where he died. I thought he was one of the greatest men who ever lived and I still do in many ways. And when he was murdered, I decided I wanted to do something about it, so I created the poster. I felt this image had to come out, or he would not be commemorated otherwise, he would go where heroes go, which is usually into anonymity." 

Jim Fitzpatrick, 2005 

To create the image Fitzpatrick made a paper negative on a piece of equipment called a grant. They were then printed in one color black and one color red, and he handpainted the star in yellow. Fitzpatrick "wanted the image to breed like rabbits" and hand printed thousands of images to give away to anyone for free in London, in addition to getting friends to pass them out while encouraging others to make their own versions. He printed about a hundred copies at a time to fulfill the demand of political groups in Ireland, France, and Holland who began requesting the image. A batch was also sent to Spain, where they were seized by Franco's police. 

Because of the high demand, Fitzpatrick formed a poster company called Two Bear Feet and produced a variety of posters in 1967 using the Korda image. All of them were created without copyright, because Fitzpatrick wanted them to be reproduced. One of these posters would be published in the satirical magazine Private Eye. The most well known was printed on silver foil and was exhibited in an exhibition in London called "Viva Che" at the Arts Laboratory, curated by Peter Meyer. This show was originally to be held at the Lisson Gallery in 1968 and illustrates how fast the image moved from protest into the realm of the fine art. 

Because of Fitzpatrick's desire for the photo to reflect something of himself, he raised Che's eyes more and added his initial, a reversed "F" on the shoulder. It was not until the 40th anniversary of Che's death, that Fitzpatrick admitted to this fact stating "I’m a bit mischievous, so I never told anyone." At this time Fitzpatrick said that "I love the picture and wherever I am in the world, if I see it, I take a photo of it. I always have a chuckle when I see that little "F". I know that it's mine." In November 2008, Fitzpatrick announced that he would be signing over the copyright of his Che image to the William Soler Pediatric Cardiology Hospital in Havana, Cuba. In announcing his reason for ensuring all future proceeds would go to the children's hospital, Fitzpatrick stated that "Cuba trains doctors and then sends them around the world ... I want their medical system to benefit." Additionally, Fitzpatrick publicized his desire to gift the original artwork to the archive run by Guevara's widow, Aleida March.


Cuban historian Edmundo Desnoes has stated that "Che's image may be cast aside, bought and sold and deified, but it will form a part of the universal system of the revolutionary struggle, and can recover its original meaning at any moment." That meaning's origin harkens back to when Korda's photo was first published on April 16, 1961, in the daily Cuban newspaper Revolución, advertising a noon conference during which the main speaker was "Dr. Ernesto 'Che' Guevara." The conference was disrupted however, when 1,300 CIA-supported counter-revolutionaries stormed the beaches of Cuba, in what became known as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The image was thus republished a second time advertising the newly convened conference on April 28, 1961. Because of this fact, it seems very likely that in the context of both of these publications, that Che could have seen the photograph that would later contribute to his iconic status. 

The very first time Cubans on a large scale became familiar with the photograph, despite its earlier reproduction in Revolución, was on hearing the news of Che's murder. Upon the news of Che's execution, it was enlarged and draped on a banner down the five-story building of the Ministry of the Interior in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana. This building where Che himself had formerly worked, served as a backdrop to Fidel's eulogy on October 18, 1967, publicly acknowledging the death of Che Guevara before a crowd of over a million mourners. José Gómez Fresquet, renowned Cuban poster maker and graphic artist, recalls how on hearing the news of Guevara's death, he immediately worked all night producing the poster to be used at the rally honoring him the next day. Korda had given Fresquet a copy of the portrait as a basis for the poster, which he created on red paper. This was the first privately produced Guerrillero Heroico to be created in Cuba. Since then the building has seen many versions of the image, and today a permanent steel outline, derived from the photograph adorns the building. 

The United States

Guerrillero Heroico made its American debut in 1968 on New York subway billboards, when the image appeared in painted form by Paul Davis, for a poster advertising the February issue of Evergreen Review. Paul Davis has stated that he was "inspired by Italian paintings of martyred saints and Christ", in his romanticised version of Che. 

"Che is an impetuous man with burning eyes and profound intelligence who seems born to make revolution." 

— Henri Cartier-Bresson, Life magazine, 1963 

"Che was the revolutionary as rock star. Korda, as a fashion photographer, sensed that instinctively, and caught it. Before then, the Nazis were the only political movement to understand the power of glamour and sexual charisma, and exploit it. The communists never got it. Then you have the Cuban revolution, and into this void come these macho guys with straggly hair and beards and big-dick glamour, and suddenly Norman Mailer and all the radical chic crowd are creaming their jeans. Che had them in the palm of his hand, and he knew it. What he didn’t know, of course, was how much that image would define him.

 Lawrence Osborne, New York Observer, 2003 

However the fascination was not solely an American phenomenon, for instance British journalist Richard Gott who met with Che Guevara several times expressed a similar view, by stating how he was "struck by his magnetic physical attraction, comparable to the aura of a rock star." In Gott's opinion "almost everyone had the same impression, and journalists were particularly susceptible." Time magazine, in an August 8, 1960, cover story after meeting with Guevara displayed this view, by remarking that Che wore "a smile of melancholy sweetness that many women find devastating." 

Argentine journalist Julia Costenlos, recalls that in her view he was "blessed with a unique appeal, an incalculable enchantment that came completely naturally." Indian Ambassador K Gajendra Singh, posted in 1965 as a young diplomat in Algiers, recalls his own similar personal encounter with meeting Guevara; describing him as "indisputably the dazzling star of the show" and compared shaking his hand at an economic seminar to "getting an autograph of a celebrity." According to Singh, Che's "charismatic presence in green olive fatigues and black beret" at the time embodied "the very best of the Hollywood and Bollywood stars all rolled into one

Darrel Couturier, representative for Korda since 1997, has opined that it was "the image of a very dashing young man" and that in the "age of free love and flower power ... the time was ripe for a figure" or "image that could represent this great diversity in thinking and behavior the world over." According to Couturier, this "age of religious revolution", matched with Guevara's premature death, "elevated him to almost martyrdom."


Photograph by Charles O’Rear


                                                             Title: "Bliss" 
                                                             Photographer: Charles O’Rear
                                                             SubjectNapa County, California, east of Sonoma Valley
                                                             Photo taken on
                                                             First appeared in: Wallpaper for “Luna” theme in Windows XP


Bliss is the name of a photograph of a landscape in Napa County, California, east of Sonoma Valley. It contains rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds. The image is used as the default computer wallpaper for the “Luna” theme in Windows XP. 

The photograph was taken by the professional photographer Charles O’Rear, a resident of St. Helena in Napa County, for digital-design company HighTurn. O’Rear has also taken photographs of Napa Valley for the May 1979 National Geographic Magazine article Napa, Valley of the Vine.


A landscape in Napa County, California, east of Sonoma Valley. It contains rolling green hills and a blue sky with stratocumulus and cirrus clouds.