In 1963, René Burri visited Havana on commission for Look magazine. One of the resultant portraits of Guevara smoking a cigar became an iconic image of the 20th century. For the book Contact Sheets, René Burri told the story behind the photograph:
“I arrived with the US reporter Laura Berquist from Look magazine. Che had invited her when they met at the end of 1962 in New York. I immediately realized that the blinds were closed. Since this posed a technical problem, I asked him, ‘May I open the blinds?’ And he said, ‘No, it’s not necessary.’ Only later did I realize that he was so focused on what he was doing that he didn’t want to see what was going on outside. The interview began right away, and after a while they simply ignored me […] He never once looked at me, which was extraordinary. I was moving all around him, and there isn’t a single photograph in which he appears looking at the camera.”
Magnum Editions 8×10″ and Contact Sheet pairings allow you to follow the photographer’s process, frame by frame, giving insight into the decisions taken to create the final iconic image, sold alongside the contact sheet as an 8×10″ print. This contact sheet features images from Burri’s time with Che Guevara in Cuba, 1963.