Photographer Captures Images of Tribes Across the Globe

British photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to 35 communities across the world in the first part of his project to document portraits of tribal and indigenous peoples. Today, in the second part of his project, Nelson is continuing to travel and document lives and cultures that are often unseen.

As a child, Nelson lived in Africa, Asia, and South America before going to a boarding school at the age of eight. Once he left school in 1985, he took off on a year-long journey across Tibet with his camera that would inspire the start of his photojournalism career. When he returned from this trip, he soon started working as a professional photojournalist.

After 25 years working as a photographer, he started working on the photo series, "Before They Pass Away," in order to create awareness about our world’s indigenous cultures through photography. Since then, his images have been published into an incredible 304-page global bestseller book, have been shown in galleries across the world, and were shared in the wonderful TED Talk attached above.

To check out more of Jimmy Nelson's work, you can see his website, Facebook, and Instagram. His exhibition is currently being shown in Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Austria.

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48 Comments

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Erik Kellar's picture

So what part of it is not true. The fact that the culture wears traditional attire but still maintains 21 century clothes or does have to be a culture so pure in your definition that they never wear 21 century clothes. What about Native Americans they wear both 21 century clothes and traditional attire and preserve their culture. What about insert what ever culture here and co exist with the moment. I am confused by your statement. What exactly is your criteria.

Rex Larsen's picture

You make some interesting points, Bob, but your definition of Native American does not match what is found in most dictionaries.
I was born in America but my heritage is Norwegian not Native American. I can imagine what Jimmy Nelson would prefer I wear for his portrait of me.

Rex Larsen's picture

Learn from leaders of indigenous communities in their own words as well as experts in culture and anthropology. A quick Google search on the controversy that follows Jimmy Nelson and his work, that Emily Teague neglected to share, answers your question, Erik, better than I can.
I do again suggest that Fstoppers use experienced editors to help contributing photographers with their copy. A different headline and brief mention of the controversy that follows Nelson would have resulted in a stronger article.

Anonymous's picture

What I find interesting is how Nelson's work and controversy parallels Edward Curtis' and his images of "vanishing" American Indian tribes at the turn of the 20th century: striking and beautiful images that are marred in arguments over their "authenticity" and the artist's motives. It makes sense that Nelson sees Curtis as a main inspiration for his photos.

Anonymous's picture

That’s not what is comparable. I said the style of the photographs and the controversy over their “authenticity” and artistic intent are what are similar, not the exact subjects and content.

I don’t plan on commenting or responding to your observation on American culture.

Anonymous's picture

It comparable, not the same. That’s what I wrote.

Anonymous's picture

No, you read what I wrote. Learn the difference between “similar” and “the same.”

Anonymous's picture

I don't find it surprising that people do not fit easily into "conservative" or "leftwing" monikers. Our thoughts can blend between these simplified and arbitrary states with fluidity, if we have the mental capacity and strength to allow it.

Anonymous's picture

^ Like a child who loves to hear himself talk, even if he has nothing relevant or insightful to say.

Anonymous's picture

When it’s the truth, absolutely.

Anonymous's picture

Cute little veiled threat, bub.

Anonymous's picture

“Oh stop.” Good idea.

Erik Kellar's picture

To Bob Brady's comment. I offer you a challenge and lets see if we can get FStoppers to post your work. Bob it sounds like a project for you to shoot and bring to the F Stoppers. Bring the portraits and then we can debate what you shot and present. I think its only fair. Be the change you want to see.

Anonymous's picture

I’m going to invite you down to Texas. Let’s how afraid I can make you. We don’t care for your kind where white, brown and others have existed along the border just fine without your white pride bs.

Anonymous's picture

😘

Anonymous's picture

Real Americans. Lol. Report away. Backtracing you.