Before they pass away


This post is about a project  which Jimmy Nelson spent the last 4 years travelling to the most isolated and desolate, (arguably) inhabitable locations searching for the last authentic tribes people left on this planet. He did this to document a part of history for all mankind before it inevitably (and sadly) disappears forever.

I would like to note why I think Nelson is not only a phenomenal photographer but also an inspirational human being. Firstly, these intimate and yet carefully constructed elegant portraits each successfully convey a story. This proves his natural ability to connect with his subjects at a deeper level which is so difficult to achieve. Secondly, he took the initiative to start this mammoth project by listening to his gut, because he simply felt the need to do so. Thirdly, he chased his goals and made the project come to life  against the odds (extreme weather conditions, not knowing where the tribes were...).

Pardon my ignorance, but I didn't even know these types of humans still existed still in 2014. I mean, when we want to eat, we walk to the fridge and make something. If we feel lazy, we pick up the phone and dial for takeaway. We either eat the leftovers or throw it away. But not for these last warriors. If they want to eat, they have to go and hunt their prey. And they waste nothing (not even the gross bits).

It's a romantic notion to give up all your creature comforts to live a more natural and honest life. There are more and more people making the sea change preferring the slower country lifestyle. The Chuktoka people of Siberia were given an apartment in a city and an opportunity to live a 'normal' life. They said no thanks to the concrete jungle and moved back to the freezing, minus 50 degree arctic conditions. They chose their life over the fabricated complex hectic bubble of modern day. Born and raised in Tokyo, this is all such a foreign concept and yet it somehow it resonates so deeply with me. I honestly envy, and applaud these people on how their values guide their raw existence of such purity.

Watch Nelson explain the project and share his adventures.

Here is the short version:

'Rare photos of remote tribes at risk of disappearing' BBC NEWS

Here is the long version which you really MUST see:

Before they pass away: Jimmy Nelson at TEDxAmsterdam