RenĂ© Burri’s Contact Sheet That Led to an Iconic Photo of Che Guevara

Imagine you were a newspaper photo editor back in 1963, and Swiss Magnum photographer René Burri handed you the contact sheet above filled with portraits of revolutionary Che Guevara. Which photograph would you select for publication?

You might recognize one of the photographs, since it has become one of the most iconic portraits created of Che.

Strange Contact Sheet Self Portraits

Remember the contact sheet art we shared a while back? Photographer Karl Baden does something similar -- he creates strange contact sheet self-portraits. These images were all created back in 1980. How a roll of film is exposed needs to be carefully planned out in order to know exactly where each shot will appear on the resulting contact sheet.

Each photo is a pretty normal shot of some area of Baden's face or hands, but when combined into a contact sheet, the resulting image is quite... unique.

Contact Sheet Art Created Using Carefully Exposed 35mm Film

Contact sheets are ordinarily used to select photographs to print, but UK-based photographer Martin Wilson's contact sheets are masterpieces in themselves. His sheets are created by carefully capturing images on 35mm film, scanning the entire film, and then piecing the film strips together digitally into a large contact sheet.

Only when the film strips are laid side by side does the final image come together and make sense. The specific place in the roll of each image is carefully planned out, and Wilson throws out entire rolls of film if mistakes are made. Thus, a single contact sheet artwork will typically take him months to finish.