This summer, because of a series of inconvenient events, I turned down a really cool job and ended up with more free time than I needed. I got a new library card and at one point in the summer started renting movies. One of the movies I watched was called, “Chevolution.” Without knowing it at the time, it was a piece of media that is extremely relevant to our class. The film traces back the famous photo of Che Guevara taken by Alberto Korda at a mass funeral for those who died in a bombing. The movie was a lot of zooming in on still images, and shots of people sitting in rooms reminiscing on things their family members or other relevant individuals to the famous image did. A lot of what people were talking about was how this one photo became so phenomenal- special qualities of the photo itself that set it apart from other photos, what made Che unique, and a handful of other musings including comparing Che Guevara to Jesus Christ.
All in all, I appreciate people taking time to think about how one single image can catch on so widely, and how the meaning of the image bends and flexes because of how much usage it gets. We have learned a lot about revolutionary or counter-culture media such as Third Cinema, AIDS activism, and many other causes. The Che Guevara image was once similarly revolutionary, but it became so normalized that it almost became a symbol for consumerism-buying an ideal on a t-shirt or poster. This is a lesson for how to support the movements we learn about in class– in a way that does not directly support systems that perpetuate the many various problems that alternate media makers create work to help solve. Still, I would rather buy a shirt that advertises artmark instead of nike, even though I own a lot more nike. Consumerism is somewhat of a necessity for people to still be able to live stable lives in today’s society, so it can be channeled in a way that is less costly on the world and on progressive ideals than others.