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Salgado, Sergio (Sergio Checko), 1970-


Sergio “Checko” Salgado was born in Las Vegas, Nevada at Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital, a hospital whose name is unrecognizable to the majority of the people that now make Southern Nevada their home. Although the building still operates today, it is known as the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Nevada’s Level I trauma center and one of the largest public hospitals in the United States. Like the rest of the Las Vegas Valley, the hospital has undergone numerous transformations, and since the 1960s the Salgado’s have borne witness to the most dramatic changes that Las Vegas underwent in the 20th and 21st centuries.

He was raised near Sandhill and Stewart in a house surrounded by undeveloped desert, and was educated at schools that have preserved their namesake if not their original building. He was in the last class to graduate from Las Vegas High School’s original campus Downtown. He became involved in Las Vegas’s punk movement in the 1980s, and it was through the lens of this subculture that his political consciousness flourished. Through the creation of zines after school with his high school friends he began to cultivate his writing, interviewing, and perhaps most importantly his photography skills.

A stint in Reno as a journalism major made him realize his passion for photography, and at the age of 22 he was taking commercial photographs for the biggest clients in Las Vegas—clients which included the Riviera and the Rio Hotel and Casino. He has seen and documented the changes that have occurred on 28th Street throughout the years and saw the changes that occurred within the punk community in his youth as the spread of white supremacy infiltrated the Las Vegas Valley.

He is a photographer, instructor, and conservationist, whose work documenting the communities that he has been a part of and the Nevada desert that he has called home have led to local and national recognition. He has spoken before the U.S. Senate and has had his co-curated exhibition, Basin and Range, recognized by the Nevada Arts Council. In 2019, his exhibition, 28th Street, was the first exhibition housed at the East Las Vegas Library.