Enrique Meneses

Fidel Castro (1958)

Enrique Meneses arrived in Cuba in 1952. He did so after fleeing through France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Portugal with his love, a cousin whom he wanted to save from a marriage of convenience. In Cuba and without a girlfriend, his interest soon focused on photographing the Sierra Maestra rebels everyone was talking about, something no other reporter had yet managed to do.

Thanks to his persistence and shrewdness, Meneses managed to gain access to the camp where the rebels were hiding and lived for four months with emblematic figures such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. It was the longest story coverage of his career, for which he spent eleven months on the island, including an eight-day stay in Batista’s prisons.

The photograph he took of Fidel Castro attests to his expertise as a photographer. While the revolutionary leader was writing by candlelight, Meneses tried to immortalize him. One minute of exposure. Six photographs. Only one of them was clear. The rest is history: an article published in three issues of Paris Match Magazine in 1958, three million pesetas and worldwide recognition.

Enrique Meneses’ life was like his photography, with no time for pauses. Because to capture an instant you need to be present, attentive and willing to seize it.

Enrique Meneses
© Fundación Enrique Meneses, VEGAP, Madrid, 2019

Enrique Meneses

Madrid, 1929 — Madrid, 2013

His was a life of an all-rounder in journalism. Seven decades of a career that is impossible to summarize, but which Meneses himself described as being “a hunter of images.” He embodies the figure of the intrepid reporter, a survivor, an expert in getting by. In the fifties and sixties, he was already a contributor to major magazines such as Paris Match, Sterno Time-Life, and among other achievements, he was the first reporter to visit Sierra Maestra with the guerrillas led by Fidel Castro.

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