Friday, 18 September 2009

[240] Trisha Ziff Interview

I enjoyed this interview. Trisha Ziff is a switched-on, eloquent lady, and she speaks well about many of the photographic and image-based themes of her film, Chevolution, as well as the historical background and behind-the-scenes production tidbits.

Michael Leader speaks with Trisha Ziff, co-director of documentary Chevolution, about the film, which explores the continuing use of the famous "Guerrillero Heroico" photograph of Che Guevara in 1960, and the position of the image in solidifying, and at times distorting, Guevara's place in pop culture

Chevolution is your first film, but you started off as a curator, is that right?
TRISHA ZIFF: Well, no, I started off running an agency of photojournalists in London, called Network, in the '80s. A collective of independent photojournalists, that took me to curating, and my area of work has always been photographic and with Chevolution, it centers on the narrative of a photograph, and now I'm working on my second film, which is also about photography.

Looking through the exhibitions you've curated (Hidden Truths: Bloody Sunday 1972; The Ballad of Katriot Rexhepi, Mary Kelly), it seems that you're quite interested in representations of history through the image.
TZ: Not necessarily historical, but I'm interested in ideas of, through photography, raising issues. Concerns about looking, about understanding the power of imagery in our culture.

And what a better, more powerful image to focus on than the photograph of Che. How did you become interested in this image in particular?
I knew Alberto Korda, the photographer, when he was alive. He had a relationship with Mexico, and Cuban photographers would always have the ability to travel to Mexico. So I met Korda in Mexico City. And when Alberto died, I was talking to his representative, Daryl Couturier, who's in the film, about how it must have been for Alberto, to have his entire life's work to be narrowed down to 1/60th of a second, and what that must have meant for him. Because, in the obituaries, when he died, it was always 'the man who took the Che image', as opposed to all the other images that he took in his life. And that made me think about how to tell the narrative of a single image, and I did an exhibition, and a book, which came out in various different versions and languages, and, from there, the film.

Read the full article here.

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