Che is nervous
Maybe you’ve seen this picture before.
More likely, you’ve seen the red and black version, but I have an aversion to color, in case you hadn’t noticed, so be content with this.
It’s an iconic picture, used for all kinds of things revolutionary, pseudo-revolutionary, commercial, and of course, parodical. People who know absolutely nothing else about him know that that is Che. Who Che is or what he did is unimportant. That’s Che. He is iconic, and he’s looking to the future with the strength and determination that represents millions of downtrodden people all over the world.
You may not recognize this quite as well.
This is of course from the real picture. Do you notice the difference?
There are many of them, but the really important one is the eyes. Look at them and where they’re located in each picture. In some versions, the eyes are even more different. They’re so strong in the first picture, so much more focused on something unseen but uplifting. Now look at the second one. Where are his eyes there?
There just seems to be an entirely different mood between the two pictures. In the iconic one, so strong and intense. In the real picture, worried, tired, and frail. The red and black one completely gets rid of the wrinkles, too, but you can see them mostly gone in the iconic-looking picture here. And even where his shoulders are and the body language. So subtle, but what does it do?
They’re all very small changes, and probably not noticeable unless someone pointed it out to you before (as was done for me), but the difference it makes is huge. It’s no longer real, Ernesto Guevara becomes Che, this abstract thing that has so much meaning put on top of him, he as he actually was ceases to mean anything at all.
Che is nervous and human in the real picture, but human beings die, just like he did. People didn’t feel that his life was important enough so they had to make him into something he wasn’t in order to be useful to them.
I’m pretty nervous myself. With some luck, some day I’ll be on the T-shirts of college Marxists, too.