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Amazing Portraits of Disappearing World Tribes

Amazing Portraits of Disappearing World Tribes

Photographer Jimmy Nelson has spent years traveling the globe in a quest to document the world’s most fantastic indigenous cultures before they and their way of life disappear. He is a British photojournalist and photographer known for his portraits of tribal and indigenous peoples.

His goal was to capture portraits of the disappearing people groups and to preserve glimpses of their rites, customs, and traditions — photos that he hopes will remain even if these cultures fade away.

jimmy nelson tribe photographerIn this 17-minute TED talk (click here), Nelson shares some of his best large format portraits and some fascinating things that he has learned along the way.

Yakim, Brigade 2, Nenet. Yamal Peninsula, Ural Mountains. Russia, 2011
Yakim, Brigade 2, Nenet. Yamal Peninsula, Ural Mountains. Russia, 2011

The project was initially funded by Dutch billionaire Marcel Boekhoorn, who contributed €400,000 toward the work.

Hilao Moyizo Village,. Omo Valley. Ethiopia, 2011
Hilao Moyizo Village,. Omo Valley. Ethiopia, 2011
Bartholomeuw, Rubin, Gibson & Samson, Kalam Tribesmen. Simbai, Nukunt Village, Bismark Range, Central Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Bartholomeuw, Rubin, Gibson & Samson, Kalam Tribesmen. Simbai, Nukunt Village, Bismark Range, Central Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010

Over the course of the project, Nelson traveled to more than 35 different tribes found in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific.

Dele, Lale, Korcho Village,. Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2011
Dele, Lale, Korcho Village,. Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2011

After making contact and establishing friendships with the members, Nelson would ask them to pose for portraits shot using his 50-year-old 4×5-inch large-format camera.

 

Menaja Koke. Ponowi Village, Jalibu Mountains, Western Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Menaja Koke. Ponowi Village, Jalibu Mountains, Western Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Goroka, Eastern Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Goroka, Eastern Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010

 

“Before They Pass Away” has been published as a 424 page hardcover book containing 402 color photographs.  There’s also an online gallery where you can view and purchase art prints of the images.

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