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This Photographer Is Capturing Vanishing Cultures, And His Photos Will 'Stand The Test Of Time'

A fascinating look at vanishing indigenous cultures "Before They Pass Away."

Imagine a world where people rely solely on the land for survival. No big business, no rush hour, no consumerism or corporate giants — only life in its most natural state ushered by Mother Earth. 

It's hard to imagine that a place or people like this exist in today's fast-paced world. But, in fact, they do. All over the planet.

Photographer Jimmy Nelson has dedicated his life to capturing the vanishing indigenous cultures still in existence around the world.


"We have to start documenting these cultures very, very, very quickly because they're going to disappear and as soon as they disappear we will lose something which is very, very, very important to us," he says in the video "Introducing Jimmy Nelson" on his YouTube channel.

"It's our authenticity. It's where we came from," he continued. "It's our origins."  

After the highly successful release of his 2013 book Before They Pass Away, the British photographer continued on his worldly travels to capture more indigenous people in their natural habitats for Before They Part II.

Between 2010 and 2015, he traveled across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the South Pacific, visiting 35 indigenous tribes

From the Nenet reindeer herders who migrate nearly 630 miles annually across the Yamal Peninsula, to the Chukchi tribe of Siberia — the only native group in that region that has never been conquered by Russian troops — Nelson captures the essence of some of the most fascinating indigenous people in the world.

"The Chukchi people are a fantastic community of respect," Nelson said in his 2014 TED Talk. "They adore and admire one another, and they truly taught me what beauty was."

While viewers marvel at the places Nelson has traveled to and the people he has photographed along his journey, he simply wanted to uncover the rare indigenous tribes still holding on to the way the world was before manmade technological advances changed the landscape of our lives.

"I wanted to witness their time-honored traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever," he said in a previous interview. "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."

Despite the language and cultural barriers Nelson has faced along his travels, his camera acts as a lens bridging ancient civilizations and modern-day societies.

He's had widely successful exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, from Fotografiska in Stockholm to Camera Work in Berlin, and Sotheby's in London. Now, his captivating body of work can be seen at Willas Contemporary in Oslo, Norway, until January 14, 2017. 

"Perhaps part of this journey is about me trying to find out where I belong," Nelson said during his emotional 2014 TED Talk, where he revealed that his father had recently passed. 

"These pictures look at you," he told the audience before adding, "I ask you to look at them." 

See more of Jimmy Nelson's journey in the video below:

Check out 11 of Jimmy Nelson's fascinating photos:












Cover image via Instagram


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