Valdir Cruz was born in Guarapuava in the Southern State of Paraná, Brazil, in 1954. Although he has lived in the United States since 1978, much of his work in photography has focused on the people, architecture, and landscapes of Brazil. From 1995–2000 he photographed Faces of the Rainforest, a project documenting the life of indigenous people in the Brazilian Rainforest, for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowhip in 1996. Over the past twenty seven years he has published eleven photography books.
Cruz is represented in the permanent collections of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (Masp), the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among others. Cruz divides his time between New York City and São Paulo.