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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It's a way of life." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Stunning Images of the World’s Last Indigenous Cultures ~ By Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson's work has taken him from war-torn Afghanistan, Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia to the remotest corners of China and Tibet. But in 2009, the British photographer outdid even himself when he embarked upon a four-year trek around the world—cutting through Amazonian jungles, braving freezing temperatures in Siberia and even surviving a case of meningitis in Ethiopia—to photograph some of the world’s last indigenous tribes. [via Ralph Lauren]

Nelson documented 55 cultures and tribes, many of which are at risk of disappearing forever, often in remote parts of the world, using a 50-year-old 4x5 camera. His book, Before They Pass Away,is a collection of the images he made on his epic journey.

Jimmy Nelson

A Maasai warrior. "To be a Maasai is to be born into one of the world’s last great warrior cultures," Nelson's website reads. The Maasai people, who live in Tanzania and Kenya, are said to have migrated to the region from Sudan in the 15th century. ~Jimmy Nelson

"In 2009, I planned to become a guest of 31 secluded and visually unique tribes. I wanted to witness their time-honoured traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever. Most importantly, I wanted to create an ambitious aesthetic photographic document that would stand the test of time. A body of work that would be an irreplaceable ethnographic record of a fast disappearing world." 
~ Jimmy Nelson

Click on images for a larger view*
Kazakh tribespeople. Descendants of Turkic, Mongolic and Indo-Iranian tribes, as well as the Huns, the Kazakhs are a "semi-nomadic people that have roamed the mountains and valleys of western Mongolia with their herds since the 19th century,"  ~Jimmy Nelson
Members of Namibia's Himba tribe. The Himba are "an ancient tribe of tall, slender and statuesque herders," according to Nelson's website. "Since the 16th century they have lived in scattered settlements, leading a life that has remained unchanged, surviving war and droughts...in one of the most extreme environments on earth." ~ Jimmy Nelson
"I love travelling across the globe and was often sent to far-off countries as a photojournalist and for advertising assignments. I always took the opportunity to capture the local culture and people during those trips. For me, Before They Pass Away was essential because although these tribes will always exist, what is happening is that they are abandoning their culture. Affluence is taking over the undeveloped world, and, in my opinion, there should be a balance somewhere in between. I want to show these tribes that they are already rich, that they have something money can’t buy. What I hope to achieve is bringing attention to these people by showing that they are beautiful."~ Jimmy Nelson
Jimmy Nelson
Jimmy Nelson

Samburu tribespeople. The Samburu tribe lives in northern Kenya. Nelson told HuffPost that Samburu men are so powerful and at one with nature that they've been known to use their bare hands to kill lions that attack their camels.~ Jimmy Nelson
 Māori ~Jimmy Nelson

The Huli warriors in Papua New Guinea. According to Nelson, the Huli tribe has shrunk by 90 percent in the last few decades, largely due to a mass migration to towns and cities. ~ Jimmy Nelson
Jimmy Nelson
“What’s interesting about all these people—despite the differences in geography, customs and history—is that they live in balance with the environment and have achieved the perfect harmony that everyone in the West dreams of.” ~ Jimmy Nelson
The Himba ~ Jimmy Nelson

Southwest Ethiopia ~ Jimmy Nelson
A Nenet tribesman. The Nenets are reindeer herders who live in the Yamal peninsula of northwest Siberia. The Nenets have thrived in Siberia for more than a millennium, living in temperatures that range from minus 50 degrees Celcius in winter to 35 degrees Celcius in summer, per Nelson's website. Every year, the Nenets undertake a migration of over a 1,000 km, a distance that includes a 48 km crossing of the frozen Ob River.

A Mursi tribesman. The nomadic Mursi tribe lives in southwestern Ethiopia.~Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson using his 50-year-old large format camera ( Linhof?) film camera in Papua New Guinea.

To purchase Jimmy Nelson’s book, Before They Pass Away, see link below: 
Before They Pass Away


For more information about Jimmy Nelson and the Before They Pass Away project, please visitwww.beforethey.com.

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