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Photographing Native Tribes Before They Disappear

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Kazakhs in Mongolia (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/teNeues)
Kazakhs in Mongolia (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)

 

Glimpses of today’s treasures–that’s what Jimmy Nelson’s portraits are. In his landmark project, Before They Pass Away, the British photographer captures the lives and traditions of the last surviving tribes who have managed to preserve their traditional ways and customs within our increasingly globalized world–from the Nenet in the Ural Mountains to the Drokpa in remote India. In all, Nelson documents 35 unique tribes in 44 countries. The photographs present these inheritors of noble and age-old traditions and showcase their indigenous culture as not only a beautiful spectacle but, more importantly, as a historical record.

Nenets in Russia (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Nenets in Russia (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)

 

Revealing the wide variety of human experiences and cultural expressions across the ages, this historic volume showcases tribal cultures around the world. These societies boast distinctive lifestyles, art, and traditions. They live in close harmony with nature, a rarity in our modern era. Nelson not only documents customs and artifacts, but provides insightful portraits of the people who are the guardians of a culture. His large-format camera captures every intricate detail and subtle nuance for posterity, while his portraits are set against a vivid backdrop of some of the world’s most pristine landscapes. You can purchase the book here, whether for yourself or any photography lovers you know. To learn more about Nelson’s travels, watch his TED Talk below.

 

Himba in Namibia (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Himba in Namibia (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Tibetans (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Tibetans (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Maori in New Zealand (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Maori in New Zealand (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Drokpa in India/Pakistan (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Drokpa in India/Pakistan (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Ladakhi in Jammu and Kashmir (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Ladakhi in Jammu and Kashmir (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Maori in New Zealand (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)
Maori in New Zealand (Jimmy Nelson Pictures BV/Published by teNeues)