Born in 1974, of a Danish mother and a Brazilian father, Christian Cravo spent the first six years of his life in an artistic and tropical milieu in the city of Salvador, Brazil. The son of a photographer and grandson of a sculptor, Christian had the privilege of being introduced to the art world at an early age.
At the age of seven he travels to Denmark with his mother, and spent several years shuttling back and forth between his native country and his new “home.” But the geographic distance made him long all the more to forge stronger ties with his father’s side of the family. He started on that journey through the arts. At the age of 12, while still in Denmark, he began experimenting with photography, building a darkroom in his home. He spent most of his teenage years in that space. When he was 17, he returned to Brazil, drawn by his own wanderlust and his father’s encouragement. For two years, Christian traveled around the backlands of the Brazilian Northeast and discovered the beauty of that country for the first time. That immersion led him to view photography as the medium through which he could get to know the world and people. At that moment, he decided he wanted to make that craft his profession.
In 1993, he set his photographic studies aside to do military service in Denmark, where he spent two more years of his life. At the age of 21, he returned to Brazil, where he started to get deeply involved with his camera and went back to his photographic projects.
After working long and hard, he saw his work takes shape and gains recognition, not only nationally but also outside of Brazil, through exhibitions at the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Throckmorton Fine Arts in New York City, the Billedhusets Galeri in Copenhagen, the S.F. Camera Works Gallery in San Francisco, the Ministry of Culture in Brasília, the Museu de Arte Sacra in Belém, and group exhibitions including those at the Witkin Gallery,
Throckmorton Fine Arts, the Houston FotoFest, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and El Museo del Barrio in New York City.
During that period, Christian also won awards from the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia,the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, a scholarship from the Vitae Foundation and a prestigious fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation for his studies of the Brazilian Northeast. Later on, Christian was nominated for the 2007 Paul Huf Award in the Netherlands, which selects the 100 most promising
contemporary photographers, and in 2008 he received a nomination for the Prix Pictet (United Kingdom/Switzerland), the most important award for themes of sustainability in photography. He was the only South American photographer nominated.
His first book, Irredentos, published in 2000, portraying the life and faith of the Brazilian backlands. In 2005, Autrement published his second book in Paris, “Rome noire, ville métisse”, a gorgeous collection of images of black culture in the state of Bahia. In the Gardens of Eden was his third book, published in 2010. His latest editorial project “enlightened Exú”, retrospective book on the life and work of his grandfather, Mário Cravo Júnior, begun by his late father Mario Cravo Neto, who passed away on August 9, 2009.
Christian’s work has been represented by Throckmorton Fine Arts since 1996 in New York City, where he has held four individual exhibitions. His work is also represented in Brazil exclusively by TEMPO gallery in Rio de Janeiro and DAN gallery in São Paulo.
Currently, Christian is working on personal projects in Africa, though, his Father’s premature death has given Christian a new mission: the creation of the Mario Cravo Neto Institute to preserve his father’s work and maintain his legacy.