Source – nbcnews.com
– “…Osvaldo Salas first met Castro in 1955 while the Communist leader was fundraising in New York City. In 1957, a 16-year-old Roberto Salas published a photo in Life magazine of the Statue of Liberty draped in a Cuban Flag. That photo became an iconic image. In 1959, Roberto and his father began serving as photographers for the Cuban government newspaper, Revolucion. The two went to Cuba after Castro sent a message to the elder Salas: “Tell him to come back, we need him”:
HAVANA — At 15 years old, Roberto Salas tagged along with his photographer father on an assignment on this Caribbean island to cover a group of Cuban activists who were opposed to the government.
One of the activists Salas met during that 1955 trip was Fidel Castro. The turn of fate gave the budding shutterbug, whose father was Cuban, a front-row seat to the impending revolution.
Salas, who was born in New York, became part of a small group of photographers who were given what he calls “privileged” access to Castro — allowing him to capture up-close images of the future president when the paparazzi was swarming.
“He was a magnet for cameras, photographers,” Salas said.
He was also given the chance to document images of Castro in more intimate settings.
The images Salas shot of Castro with American author Ernest Hemingway and Castro in a more raw state — including relaxing in a hammock with a cigar — would become iconic. But a photo snapped on the day the American embassy closed in Havana would prove to be one of the most gripping.
“This guy was selling papers around what was the embassy … I said let’s take a picture of you with the newspaper,” Salas recalled. The front page of that newspaper said, “Viva Cuba Libre” — “Finally we’re free.”
Salas’ father, Osvaldo Salas, an award-winning photographer whose work was published in Life magazine and The New York Times, was also invited to cover Castro and did so for many years. Salas said his father used to be asked, “‘Salas, what’s your favorite photograph?’ And my father used to say, ‘I’m going to do it tomorrow.'”
“I thought it was just a line,” Salas said. “But after my father passed, I realized that isn’t a line, it’s a concept … saying you can always do it better.”
Roberto Salas was born in New York City in 1940, son of the accomplished Cuban born photographer Osvaldo Salas. While the elder Salas won recognition for his portraits of sports legends like Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, it was his son Roberto who caught the attention of Fidel Castro, himself.
Osvaldo Salas first met Castro in 1955 while the Communist leader was fundraising in New York City. In 1957, a 16-year-old Roberto Salas published a photo in Life magazine of the Statue of Liberty draped in a Cuban Flag. That photo became an iconic image.
In 1959, Roberto and his father began serving as photographers for the Cuban government newspaper, Revolucion. The two went to Cuba after Castro sent a message to the elder Salas: “Tell him to come back, we need him.”
In 1998, many of his photos were published in a collection entitled Fidel’s Cuba: A Revolution in Pictures. Several of the photos in the book had never been seen before in the United States. There are images from the Bay of Pigs and of delegates arguing on the UN floor to more poignant moments that showcase Salas’ skill as a portrait artist. These remarkable photos include images of the famous and the infamous, from Che Guevera and Fidel Castro, to Ernest Hemingway smiling with a fishing trophy in hand.
Salas has also served as a UN correspondent and as a war correspondent in Vietnam, Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia. He has had more than forty one-man shows worldwide and has garnered more than 100 prizes and honorable mentions in major photo competitions. He continues to live and work as a free lance photographer in Havana, Cuba.
|Ho Chi Minh Standing|
|1967, archival pigment print
20 x 16 incheshttp://www.salasphotocuba.com/bio.html