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May - Mario Cravo Neto.

The Brazilian photographer Mario Cravo Neto was born in 1947 in the city of Salvador, Bahia. He grew up in a family of artists and his father was a sculptor. Cravo Neto also began experimenting with sculpture but soon gravitated towards photography. During his early years Cravo Neto travelled widely in Europe. He lived with his father for a while in Berlin, and spent time in Spain and Italy.


 In 1968 he was accepted by the Art Student League in New York, where he studied for two years. During this time he produced a series of colour photographs entitled “On the Subway”. It was published by the international magazine Camera, and can be regarded as his true debut. He then returned to Brazil, where he exhibited his installations of growing plants in sealed environments, and his very striking photographic work.

Many of his black & white images are mystical, but also mythical. They tell a story that we have not heard before. They are often of torsos, or parts of torsos, that reach out to us, as if to touch. They loom out of the dark background of the image as if they were running towards us out of the blackness of the Brazilian night.
But it is as if there is another pulse, another rhythm to his colour photographs. They too have a sensual heat and vibrant erotic desire that is unlike any other European photography. At the same time these images do not tell the same mythical tales as his black & white work. The colours are heavy but the mood appears light. Through these pictures you can hear the Brazilian music, seductive and dangerous.

Cravo Neto creates all his black & white studio images with his Hasselblad camera. He uses Kodak T-Max at 80 ASA, develops it in HC110 and prints on Ilford Galerie.
In an article in Hasselblad Forum number 1-1999, he says: “I go into the darkroom at ten in the evening, when darkness falls, and work all night until the light returns at six in the morning. The open windows in the darkroom give me a gentle breeze, and the scent of the flowers at night is stronger than all the chemicals put together.”

Mario Cravo Neto has taken part in a long string of exhibitions and is represented in many major collections around the world.
In 1994 his black & white photographs appeared in the book Mario Cravo Neto, published by Stemmle, Switzerland, with words by Peter Weiermair.
In 2000 the hardback book Salvador was published in large format, with numerous colour photographs, by Áries Editora, Brazil.
In 2001 came the paperback book Laróyè, published by Áries Editora, Brazil.

Sören Gunnarsson