Nov 8, 2013

Fine Art Friday: Jimmy Nelson - "Before They Pass Away" Photo Essay

I have to admit that whenever I see a cultural history project by a white guy, I am immediately suspect of their motives and possible exploitation of the subject matter, as has often been the case historically. However, despite the potential monetary gains or potential deceit behind the work, I was impressed by the breadth and style of photographer Jimmy Nelson's "Before They Pass Away" project which documented the lives of  35 indigenous tribes in 5 continents over a three year period.

Throughout the project and his travels, Nelson journeyed to places like Papua New Guinea, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia and Siberia to investigate the natural state, history and "natural authenticity" of the quickly depleting tribes of the planet and unique features like painted faces, scarified bodies, jewelry, extravagant hairstyles and language . According to the artist, he "planned to become a guest of 31 secluded and visually unique tribes. 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. 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."

Check out the artists site for more images and details about these lost people and their soon to be lost cultures.


No comments: