Jimmy Nelson Research

‘Before They Pass Away’

  Jimmy Nelson is a British Photojournalist currently living in Amsterdam, who is best known for his portrait’s of the tribal, and indigenous groups of Africa, Asia, and Amazon Indian Countries.




New India:


He spent four years composing these sets of images for this project, capturing the remote and tribal cultures that are slowly disappearing as they are faced with modern society. He photographed 35 endangered tribes in 44 countries, using a 50 year old 4x5inc camera.

Nelson’s work was harshly criticised, being classed as ‘wrong’ by community leaders, ‘false and damaging’ by the words of the leading defender of indigenous people (The Guardian), and endangered communities as people are photographed ‘like Kate Moss’ (Independent). He aimed to display them as fashion model’s as in the modern world they appear to gain the most attention, and be most admired. Nelson wanted to portray them in the same light to encapsulate the viewer with their raw glamour, beauty, and ethical clothing to create a statement of recognition to their culture by exposing them in a bold, and admirable manner.

I respect his bravery and commitment to this project as travelling these countries unknowing of the response he may face would have taken courage, and confidence. I take great inspiration and I give credence to his exquisitely tasteful, and cultural taste. These images have the power to create such a response from critics, due to their astonishing aesthetic from the perception of the photography artist.


BEFORE THEY. (2010) Tribes, and Journeys. [Accessed: 08/11/2015]

THE GUARDIAN. (2014) Photographers criticised by Indigenous people, and Survival International. [Accessed:08/11/2015]

TELEGRAPH. (2015) Portraits of the world’s vanising tribes. [Accessed: 08/11/2015]

INDEPENDENT. (2014) Before They Pass Away. [Accessed: 08/11/2015]

BBC NEWS. (2014) Before They Pass Away. [Accessed: 08/11/2015]

ROADS AND KINGDOMS. (2015) Q&A with Jimmy Nelson. [Accessed: 08/11/2015]

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