Jimmy Nelson (born 1967) is a British photojournalist and photographer known for his portraits of tribal and indigenous peoples.
In his quest to photograph endangered cultures, Jimmy Nelson has endured Kalishnikov-toting Banna tribesmen, subzero reindeer attacks, and thousands of miles of hard travel. With a blend of humility and humor, Nelson won the trust of each of his subjects, using an antique plate camera to create stunning portraits of 35 indigenous tribes.
When Jimmy Nelson traveled to Siberia to photograph the Chukchi people, elders told him: “You cannot photograph us. You have to wait, you have to wait until you get to know us, you have to wait until you understand us.” In this gorgeously photo-filled talk, join Nelson’s quest to understand — the world, other people, himself — by making astonishing portraits of the world’s vanishing tribes and cultures.
The result is Before They Pass Away, a photo treasury that Nelson hopes will not only help preserve the lifestyles of people the world over, but also perhaps inspire readers in the developed world to ponder their own connections with their ancestral environments.
“There is a pure beauty in their goals and family ties, their belief in gods and nature, and their will to do the right thing in order to be taken care of when their time comes. Whether in Papua New Guinea or in Kazakhstan, in Ethiopia or in Siberia, tribes are the last resorts of natural authenticity.