Mario Díaz, 1951-2019

by Chris Murray on February 13, 2019

                           Mi Bandera. Photo by Mario Díaz.

The first photograph by a Cuban photographer that I ever purchased, over 20 years ago, was Mi Bandera (My Flag) by Mario Díaz. I was about to visit Cuba for the first time, and I called my friend Douglas Kirkland, the great Hollywood photographer, who I knew had been to Cuba. He recommended I go see the legendary Alberto Korda, who took the most famous photo of Che Guevara, “Guerillero Heroico.” Kirkland advised me to go see Mario Díaz at the newly established Fototeca de Cuba, the National Photo Gallery of Cuba. I followed Kirkland’s advice and Mario Díaz did indeed take me to see Korda at his home. It was a profound meeting that day, which I will never forget.

                                           Guerillero Heroico. Photo by Alberto Korda.

That visit to Cuba led to a more than twenty-year association with Fototeca de Cuba, Cuban photographers, and Govinda Gallery. Since that time I have had the opportunity to organize five remarkable exhibitions at Cuba’s national photo gallery, starting with La Revolución del Rock & Roll in 2002, as well as several exhibitions in Washington at Govinda Gallery of Cuban photographers, including Alberto Korda, Roberto Salas, Osvaldo SalasJosé Figueroa, Raúl Corrales, Liudmila and Nelson, Pupo and others. I have previously written blogs about Salas, Korda, and Ted Russell’s Dylan exhibition I organized in 2017 at the Fototeca de Cuba, among others.

Mario Díaz. Photo by Ariel Chang.

Mario Díaz was the first director of Fototeca de Cuba. He was a brilliant photographer and I am deeply grateful to have had his association. Viva Mario Díaz!

Category: Blog, The Back Room   

5 responses to “Mario Díaz, 1951-2019”

  1. Paul Steinberg says:

    And thank you, Chris, for turning us on to Korda. We have that great photo of Che and Castro playing golf in their army fatigues with their colleagues looking on!

  2. Christine Nassikas says:

    What an amazing and special relationship with
    so many of the great photographers of Cuba. I feel
    honored to have been there with you in 2002

  3. I met Mario @Kordas House in 1998. we had lunch. I had organised the Korda show in the USA the first show….. @ the Savannah College of Art x Design. where i WAS A PROFESSOR OF VISUAL ARTS. Mario and I became close friends and we bught him to London for Cuba Si a major show at the National Theatre. He helped with the organisation of the show however, the people around Mario dissurbed him and he became a Photographer again full time. I have a new book on Cuba and there is a picture of him holding my Leica. He was charming had a great family and his collection thru his talent of silverprinting is second to none … I have the flag picture in my hallway signed to Keith Cardwell 2000. RIP mr Diaz you were the core of the Photography of Cuba for so long.

  4. Sad news indeed, still a young man!

    Mario was very supportive and helpful when Keith Cardwell and I were curating our exhibition Cuba Si! 50 Years of Cuban Photography at London National Theatre in 2000. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the medium will be missed by many.

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