Four years ago, photographer Jimmy Nelson set off on a quest to visit and photograph 31 of the world’s unique tribes. He became enamored with learning about cultures so unlike his own — cultures he fears will soon die out — with traditions, rituals, and customs he believes all the world should know.
"I wanted to witness their time-honoured traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever," he says in a mission statement for his project, Before They Pass Away. “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.”
In a high-energy, captivating talk at TEDxAmsterdam, Jimmy tells stories from this years-long project that has had him travel to the “edges of the world,” and taught him how to better understand the world, and the people, around him. Above, some of his work showcased in his talk, including his photos of the Samburu people, the Kazakhs, the Mursi, and the Rabari.
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