Obituary: Photographer of the Cuban revolution

Campaign News | Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Raul Corrales photographer

Raul Corrales, the Cuban photographer who documented the country's political revolution of the 1950s in bold and poetic images, died on April 15. He was 81.

Corrales died of a heart attack at his home in Cojimar, a fishing village near Havana.

Perhaps Corrales' best known photograph is of the Mambises a full-frontal view of Cuban revolutionaries riding toward the camera on horseback, straw hats on their heads, flags and machetes lifted high. The work has the grandeur and bravado of a historical painting. It became an icon of the revolution.

He took many of his photographs while he worked for Cuban magazines in the 1940s and 1950s, and for the Periodico Revolucion, the new government newspaper, starting in 1959. That year, the dictator Fulgencio Bautista fled the country and Fidel Castro's forces took control.

His best-known images of the leaders of the revolution include a photograph of Fidel Castro hiking in the Sierra Maestra mountains and one of Che Guevara, smoking and smiling.

Corrales' main rival among Cuba's photographers in the revolutionary era was his friend, Korda (Alberto Diaz Gutierrez), whose portrait of Che, solemn and intent, became world famous, was used on Cuban currency and appeared on billboards.

Korda, who died in 2001, was three years older than Corrales but referred to him as his teacher.

While the Cuban revolution was Corrales' finest moment as a photographer, he is also known for other images. He photographed writer Ernest Hemingway one day when the two men went fishing. They caught nothing, but Corrales came back with a photograph of Hemingway in a rowdy pose.,,1760588,00.html

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