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Portraits of the Disappearing Tribes of the World

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jimmy

Photographer Jimmy Nelson spent three years between 2010 and 2013 visiting some of the indigenous cultures found in the furthest corners of our planet. 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.

Last month we shared a fantastic TED Talk that Nelson gave about this project, titled Before They Pass Away. Today we’ll take a closer look at the photographs.

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

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.

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We first featured this project back in 2013. Here’s a larger selection of photographs:

Altantsogts, Bayan Olgii Mongolia, 2011
Altantsogts, Bayan Olgii. Mongolia, 2011
Rauwhiri Winitana Paki Taupo Village, North Islands New Zealand, 2011
Rauwhiri Winitana Paki. Taupo Village, North Islands. New Zealand, 2011
Rock of Rah Rah lava Island, Torba Province Vanuatu Islands, 2011
Rock of Rah. Rah lava Island, Torba Province. Vanuatu Islands, 2011
Oxana Teyunrultett & Oleasya Etguest, Second Brigade Chukotka Russia, 2012
Oxana Teyunrultett & Oleasya Etguest, Second Brigade. Chukotka. Russia, 2012
Tumbu, Hangu, Peter, Hapiya, Kati, Hengene & Steven Huli Wigmen, Ambua Falls, Tari Valley Papua New Guinea, 2010
Tumbu, Hangu, Peter, Hapiya, Kati, Hengene & Steven. Huli Wigmen, Ambua Falls, Tari Valley. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Yakim, Brigade 2, Nenet Yamal Peninsula, Ural Mountains Russia, 2011
Yakim, Brigade 2, Nenet. Yamal Peninsula, Ural Mountains. Russia, 2011
Lelesas, Louelen, Lewangu, Lepokodou, Loingu & Nyerere Ndoto Mountain Range Kenya, 2010
Lelesas, Louelen, Lewangu, Lepokodou, Loingu & Nyerere. Ndoto Mountain Range. Kenya, 2010
Goroka, Eastern Highlands Papua New Guinea, 2010
Goroka, Eastern Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Bayau Bulang Renchinkhumbe, Khovsgol Mongolia, 2011
Bayau Bulang. Renchinkhumbe, Khovsgol. Mongolia, 2011
Dele, Lale, Korcho Village, Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2011
Dele, Lale, Korcho Village,. Omo Valley, Ethiopia, 2011
Noel Pearse & Dominique Pere Huka Falls, North Island New Zealand, 2011
Noel Pearse & Dominique Pere. Huka Falls, North Island. New Zealand, 2011
Hilao Moyizo Village, Omo Valley Ethiopia, 2011
Hilao Moyizo Village,. Omo Valley. Ethiopia, 2011
Lekir Monastery Ladakh India, 2012
Lekir Monastery. Ladakh. India, 2012
Menaja Koke Ponowi Village, Jalibu Mountains, Western Highlands Papua New Guinea, 2010
Menaja Koke. Ponowi Village, Jalibu Mountains, Western Highlands. Papua New Guinea, 2010
Nyerere, Loingu, Lewangum & Lepokodou Kaisut Desert Kenya, 2010
Nyerere, Loingu, Lewangum & Lepokodou. Kaisut Desert. Kenya, 2010
Perak Lady Lamayuru Monastery, Lamayaru Village, Ladakh India, 2012
Perak Lady. Lamayuru Monastery, Lamayaru Village, Ladakh. India, 2012
Garsho, Hylo, Pita, Colle, Aike & Garupa Bori Village, Southern Omo Ethiopia, 2011
Garsho, Hylo, Pita, Colle, Aike & Garupa. Bori Village, Southern Omo. Ethiopia, 2011
Yangshuo Cormorants China, 2005
Yangshuo Cormorants. China, 2005
Gisborne Festival, North Island New Zealand, 2011
Gisborne Festival, North Island. New Zealand, 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

Before They Pass Away has been published as a 424 page hardcover book containing 402 color photographs by Teneues. You can find the different editions you can purchase in this online shop. There’s also an online gallery where you can view and purchase art prints of the images.


Image credits: Photographs by Jimmy Nelson/Before They Pass Away and used with permission

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