Mario Cravo Neto was born in Salvador, Bahia in 1947. The son of
Mario Cravo Junior, a well-known Brazilian sculptor, Crave Neto
(grandson) started creating art at an early age. Initially interested
in sculpture, Crave Neto turned his attention to photography in the
late sixties. At the age of twenty, Cravo Neto moved to New York for
two years to take classes at the Art Students League and set up a
photo studio. It was this experience in New York that solidified his
love for photography.
Shortly after returning home to Brazil, Crave Neto was in a car accident
that left him bedridden for a full year. Having worked as as street
photographer in New York, he suddenly found himself unable to walk,
and in need of a new way of working. Forced to re-evaluate his photography,
he set up lights and began shooting in the studio, which he continues
to do today.
Combining spiritual, mystical and religious elements -- eggs, birds,
animals, fish and bones -- with nude torsos, Cravo Neto creates sensual
images which unite man and nature, the erotic and the spiritual. His
images reveal a psychological portrait of the Indigenous, Portuguese
and African communities that co-exist in Bahia today. Often evoking
a ritual look, Cravo Neto's photographs invite the viewer to wander
through black spaces, to linger on specific objects that are both
elegant and primitive.
One of this most renown images features a man with two fish slung
over his shoulder, reminiscent of a market scene, yet layered with
sexual and religious overtones; a man facing the camera, his chin
thrown back, holding a large white bird over his care chest in an
act of sacrifice; the wrinkled forehead of a man whose eyes are covered
by the tails of two tiny white birds, obscuring his eyesight but not
Mario Cravo Neto's work has been exhibited throughout the United
States and Europe, and is included in numerous monographs. His work
is part of various private and public collections including the Museum
of Fine Arts (Houston), Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego), Stedelijk
Museum (Amsterdam) and Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (Brazil).