Karo Tribe, Ethiopia. Photo by J Nelson | Yellowtrace

Karo Tribe, Ethiopia. Photo by J Nelson | Yellowtrace

Karo Tribe, Ethiopia.

Kalam Tribe, Papua New Guinea. Photo by J Nelson | Yellowtrace

Kalam Tribe, Papua New Guinea. Photo by J Nelson | Yellowtrace

Kalam Tribe, Papua New Guinea.

Huli Tribe, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Huli Tribe, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Huli Tribe, Papua New Guinea.

Asaro Tribe, Indonesia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Asaro Tribe, Indonesia.

Mursi Tribe, Ethiopia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Mursi Tribe, Ethiopia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Mursi Tribe, Ethiopia.

Drokpa Tribe, Kasmir, India. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Drokpa Tribe, Kasmir, India. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Drokpa Tribe, Kasmir, India.

 

Jimmy Nelson is a photographer of people who set out to search for the world’s last indigenous cultures. His goal is to document these rapidly disappearing communities for future generations. Nelson fascinating project, Before They Pass Away, is a unique global documentation of the worlds last and most beautiful tribes and cultures. Featuring over 500 images, this project highlights 35 different tribes across 5 contents. Presented as a book, a series of art prints, and a soon to be released DVD, Before They Pass Away is an extraordinary view into the emotional and spiritual lives of the last indigenous people, with evocative portraits created with photographer’s 4×5 camera.

 

Maasai Tribe, Tanzania. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Maasai Tribe, Tanzania. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Maasai Tribe, Tanzania.

Himba Tribe, Namibia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Himba Tribe, Namibia.

Maori People, New Zealand. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Maori People, New Zealand.

Huaorani Tribe, Ecuador. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Huaorani Tribe, Ecuador.

Many Vanuatu, Vanuatu. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Many Vanuatu, Vanuatu.

Mustang Tribe, Nepal. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Mustang Tribe, Nepal.

Rabari Tribe, Rajastan, India. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Rabari Tribe, Rajastan, India. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Rabari Tribe, Rajastan, India.

Samburu Tribe, Kenya. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Samburu Tribe, Kenya. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Samburu Tribe, Kenya.

Gaucho Tribe, Argentina. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

Gaucho Tribe, Argentina.

The Kazakhs, Mongolia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

The Kazakhs, Mongolia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

The Kazakhs, Mongolia.

The Nenets, Siberia. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

The Nenets, Siberia.

The Tibetans, China. Photo by Jimmy Nelson | Yellowtrace

The Tibetans, China.

 

I feel so deeply moved by this project and Nelson’s palpable images which, for me, tap into the essence of mankind and the spirit of humanity. Seeing all these painted bodies, fee souls and wild spirits makes me want to discard all my worldly possessions, move to the jungle and get tattooed up. Ok, not really, although – looking at these images – I can’t help but wonder (yet again) if our Western society has completely lost the plot in our relentless pursuit of the material, the beautiful and the unattainable. The lifestyle darling… *eyeroll*

Nelson started working as a photographer in 1987, where he set off on his own to travel through Tibet for a year. The documentation of this journey was the first of many to come. If you are so inclined, his amazing book can be purchased here and here. In the meantime, feel free to scroll the below gallery for full screen images. Enjoy!

Related photography projects on Yellowtrace – Where Children Sleep and Jiadang (Family Stuff) by Huang Qingjun.

 


[Images © Jimmy Nelson, courtesy of Before They Pass Away.]

 

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