A man from the western city of Cali has collected thousands of pictures of salsa stars spanning four decades.
Carlos Molina has taken more than 20,000 photos of historic and current salsa musicians since 1971 and boasts another 10,000 collected pictures and promotional posters and 3,000 records of Cuban music, salsa from New York, pachanga, bolera, and several other genres of American music.
He became the unofficial chronicler of salsa music by partying with all the greats; musicians like Tito Cortes and groups that include La Senora Matancera and La Orquesta Alfa 6.
Over the years, Molina has made it his duty to socialize with all the salsa masters who have made their way through Cali. He meets up with musicians at their hotels and accompanies them to their performances, hanging out with them backstage and taking their pictures.
Growing up in Cali, his interest in salsa was ignited by the likes of Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, and La Sonora de Caribe.
Molina has exhibited his photos all around the world in museums and salsa festivals. There has been a lot of talk about opening up a salsa museum with all of his pictures, but Molina seems reluctant.
“[Museum] officials always say there is no money, that one should collaborate for the good of the city. I’m not worried about that, since this project and everything I have will belong to my son. It will be up to him to determine any proposal.”