"I find it increasingly hard to discover cultres that are not at risk due to the homogenizing forces of a globalizing world. Humanity is in danger of losing its cultural diversity”. “I’m trying to say you we have to wake up. We have to start documenting these cultures because they are going to disappear. As soon as they disappear we will lose something which is very important to us. It’s our authenticity, it’s where we came from.”
Jimmy Nelson started working as a photographer in 1987. He crossed the length of Tibet on foot. The journey lasted a year and his unique visual diary featuring revealing images of a previously inaccessible Tibet and, was published to wide international acclaim.
Soon after, Jimmy was commissioned to cover a variety of culturally newsworthy themes for many of the world leading publications ranging from the Russian involvement in Afghanistan and the ongoing strife between India and Pakistan in Kashmir to the beginning of the war in former Yugoslavia.
In early 1994, he and his wife produced Literary Portraits of China, a 40 month project that took them to all the hidden corners of the newly opening People’s Republic. Upon its completion the images were exhibited in the People’s Palace on Tiananmen Square, Beijing, and then followed by a successful worldwide tour.
From 1997 onwards, Jimmy began to successfully undertake commercial advertising assignments for many of the world’s leading brands. At the same time he started accumulating images of remote and unique cultures photographed with a traditional 50-year-old plate camera and awards followed.
International exhibitions and acclaim created the subsequent momentum and enthusiasm for the initiation of Before They Pass Away in 2010, an impressive book documenting three years of travel and photographs of more than 35 indigenous tribes around the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the South Pacific.
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