As somebody who loves nothing more than traveling the world, immersing into new cultures and meeting people, whose lives couldn’t be more different than your own, it’s not surprising that I not only consider Jimmy Nelson’s works to be incredibly great but I simply adore them.
Some years ago I first came across one of his works. I discovered the photo book “Before they pass away” in a bookstore around the corner. The cover image of the book and its title fascinated me right away and truly touched and saddened me at the same time. We can hardly imagine that a large part of the cultural wealth in our world is gone. Indigenous peoples, in particular, are disappearing, their cultural goods, their traditions and customs… One time they’re only going to be memories.
Jimmy Nelson’s dream always was to raise the awareness for indigenous cultures with his photography and create a visual documentation that will allow future generations to see the beauty and variety in our lives. Since 2010 he’s been traveling around the world with this mission, spending weeks with every tribe he met on the journey. It’s particularly important for him to present the full pride and elegance of the peoples portrayed. However, Jimmy Nelson, he keeps repeating, is not an anthropologist or a cultural scientist. He’s mainly a photographer and storyteller.
Therefore the portraits aren’t meant to reflect some sort of truth – we always need to recall this when looking at them. They are an artistic and creative interpretation of the people he met on his trips.
His new work “Hommage to Humanity” is at least as impressive and fascinating to me as his work. His first book was a collection of breathtaking photos while his second still offers detailed insights into the world that Jimmy Nelson immersed into on his journeys. Excerpts from his travel diaries, maps, facts and personal interviews make you go on a journey yourself.
More about Jimmy Nelson and his projects you can find here.