Dine with the Photographer who Dined with Castro: Roberto Salas Comes to Chicago

Roberto Salas was born in New York City in 1940. His father, Osvaldo Salas, was a Cuban immigrant who would soon become a renowned photographer whose work appeared in Life magazine during its heyday, as well as in The New York Times. When Fidel Castro visited the United States in 1955 to raise money for the Cuban revolution, the senior Salas was assigned to cover him.

Castro invited Salas to join him in Havana, and for the next four years father and son journeyed back and forth documenting the life of the revolutionaries. They had privileged access to Castro, Guevara, and the rest of the 26th of July Movement in the Sierra Maestra mountains. By 1959 they both moved to Cuba and that’s where Salas remained.

This Thursday you can have privileged access to this revolutionary and influential photographer. Roberto Salas will join an intimate group for dinner at Rick Bayless’ new Cruz Blanca restaurant in the West Loop. It will be a multi-course meal paired with local craft beers and stories from Salas himself.

The evening is presented by Tamarkin Camera, who is hosting an exhibition of Roberto and Osvaldo Salas’ work in their Rangefinder Gallery, a space dedicated to un-retouched film and digital photographs taken with Leica cameras. They’ve joined forces with Complete Cuba to bring both the dinner and this exhibition of the father’s and son’s works to life.

“Roberto Salas is a wonderful storyteller as well as an influential and important photographer,” says Dan Tamarkin, owner of The Rangefinder Gallery. “His stories are every bit as fascinating as these historic images themselves. Recently, as Cuba has returned to the political and socio-economic spotlight for Americans there is renewed interest in the country and its people. Roberto Salas offers a living history of Cuba and the Revolution. He clearly enjoys sharing his experiences and we are fortunate to have him here in the United States for a brief visit to Chicago and to The Rangefinder.” 

Dinner is $80 per person, but if you mention The Local Tourist when you call (312-642-2255) you’ll save $20. 

Details on the dinner and exhibition are below:

May 4:  Mr. Salas will hold an Artist Talk & Dinner at Cruz Blanca (904 W. Randolph St.) from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  The event will feature a Rick Bayless menu and craft beers from one of the city’s hottest new breweries. Complete Cuba’s Keith Sbiral will moderate the hour-long discussion. The event offers attendees the opportunity to meet Mr. Salas in an intimate setting.

Tickets ($80 each) can be purchased through the gallery by calling 312-642-2255 or emailing focus@rangefindergallery.com – Mention The Local Tourist to save $20 on tickets.


May 5, Opening Night Reception for “Cuba – Photographs of an Era” at The Rangefinder Gallery at Tamarkin Camera (300 W. Superior St.) from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  No tickets are needed for the Opening Night Reception at the gallery and the artist will attend.   


The artist talk and exhibition are co-sponsored by Complete Cuba and Tamarkin Camera. Photo of Hemingway and Castro is by Osvaldo Salas and will be part of the exhibit.






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