…the reading of a photograph is always historical. It depends on the reader’s knowledge, just as if this were a matter of a real language, intelligible only if one has learned its signs.
The magnitude and transcendence of the epic dimension in Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez’s photography (1928-2001), known as Korda worldwide, in the light of time, has not managed to overshadow another passion which allured him, before that one fuelled by the Revolution. The one that arouse his interest in the genuine feminine beauty. A beauty that his artistic sensibility showed him how to enhance it by simply pressing the shutter any time, when he seems to be seduced by the gracefulness of shapes, the depth of a gaze, the distinction of a gesture, the spontaneity and freshness of a face, or just the personality that a photo model could imprint on an image.
Regarding the feminine image, Natalia Méndez, or just Norka, was an icon in his daily work and his partner in life as well; a visually versatile figure of connoted expressiveness, which is reiterated in several of his snapshots comprising his most recent exhibition. Inaugurated at the Fototeca de Cuba (Photo Library) last September 14th, as a devoted reminder for his ninetieth birthday, Obsesiones interruptas. La mujer en la fotografía de Alberto Korda (Tamed obsessions. Women in Alberto Korda’s photography) collection is displayed at the Plaza Vieja (Old Square), cured by Cristina Vives, a passionate researcher of his work.
With the intention of revealing rather more than negatives inherent in the photographic process, it is amazing to observe more than fifty photographic prints depicting women who, from different postures, scenes and times, portray the author’s artistic nuance.
The mastery of their composition and creative ingeniousness are a constant feature in all these images, which range from the advertising photography printed on magazines during the fifties and its unique trend of fashions, nudities and glamorous close-ups, to militia and ordinary women portrayed among crowds, living passionately every single moment of the revolutionary feat.
Portraits in which Korda fully succeeds in capturing the feminine beauty and the essence of his models, thus exalting and rather emancipating them out of the fallacious autonomy of the photographic momentum. Since the message denoted in the expressive resorts used by the artist, there appears a transference towards the dimension of connotative sense, inexorably clung to the cultural codes embraced by individuals.
The observers, who enjoy Korda’s Tamed Obsessions today, do not go necessarily along with the contexts or stages, which in the exhibit overlap the women’s leading role. However, the artistic act goes beyond; and the beauty aesthetics attained by Alberto Korda embodies again nowadays the silhouettes and faces of these beings engulfed in lights and shadows, whom the artist captured with his lens.