Fidel, con Polaroid. (Click to enlarge.)

A few days ago, I posted this awesome photo of Fidel Castro con Polaroid, asking if anyone could identify it. (Eelco Wolf, a former Polaroid executive, has been trying to ID the source.)

Well: Marion Birringer, from the Impossible Project’s European offices, tweeted the photo for me, and one of her followers spotted a reference on a German Website that showed a similar photo in an issue of National Geographic. I tracked down the issue itself (January 1977), which had the photographer’s name and agency listed, and that was that. The man with the camera was a writer-photographer named Fred Ward, who went to Cuba for NatGeo and delivered a really good extensive story, and later expanded it into a book. Today, if I read my Google results right, he’s cultivated a new specialty: luscious close-up photographs of gems. (Castro must’ve left him feeling pro-capitalist.) I can’t reproduce the NatGeo story here, for reasons of copyright, but if you happen to be in the library one day soon, it’s worth pulling it off the shelf.

Here’s a site where you can buy fine-art prints of his Castro pictures.


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