Roberto Salas was born in New York City in 1940, son of the accomplished Cuban born photographer, Osvaldo Salas (1914-1992). Roberto Salas's photographic journey began in his father's studio, where he would lend a helping hand to his father, who worked as a freelance photographer for various Spanish language newspapers. On one of his assignments in New York, Osvaldo Salas became enthralled with Fidel Castro, the future leader of Cuba, who was in Manhattan to raise funds to lead his revolution against the Batista government in Cuba. Subsequently, Osvaldo's interest in Castro led him back to Cuba to cover the actual revolution in 1957, and the teenage Roberto tagged along as his assistant. Before permanently re-locating to Cuba, they returned to New York and in 1957 Roberto Salas published a photo in Life Magazine of the Statue of Liberty draped in a Cuban flag.
On the day of Fidel Castro's arrival in Havana to meet Che Guevara at the Presidential Palace only days after the overthrow of Batista in 1959, Roberto Salas made the historic and iconic photo of Che lighting Fidel's cigar by match light.
Ultimately, Roberto, along with his father, Osvaldo, began serving as photographers for the Cuban government newspaper, Revolucion. They became two of a small group of Cuban photographers who were given what Roberto calls "privileged" access to Castro. Now, over fifty years later, Roberto still lives in Cuba and has continually worked as a freelance photographer to document the stories of that nation, including the only known meeting of Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway, as well as the ongoing activities of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. After the stabilization of the Castro revolutionary government in the mid-sixties, Roberto became an international photo-journalist, while covering the Vietnam War from the North Vietnam perspective with unique portraiture of Ho Chi Minh and then, subsequently, Cambodia. In recent years his work has focused on the portraiture of people throughout the countryside and urban environments of Cuba.
In 1998, both Osvaldo Salas's and Roberto Salas's photos were published in a collection entitled Fidel's Cuba: A Revolution in Pictures. Roberto has had more than forty one-man shows worldwide and has garnered more than 100 prizes and honorable mentions in major photo competitions.