Witness to a Dying Culture: Capturing the World’s Most Remote Tribes

Photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to the most remote, desolate and deserted edges of the world to photograph – and immortalize — more than 30 secluded tribes before they disappear. He spent two weeks with each tribe, from Papua New Guinea to Maori, New Zealand, familiarizing himself with their time-honored traditions and rituals. His stunning (though staged) photographs depict their unique jewelry, hairstyles, clothing, hierarchy and body art, as well as the cultural elements that define, and shape, their existence.

The purpose of the project, Nelson revealed, was to remind future generations of the way things once were – and reveal the purity of the human existence. Of his work, Nelson shared with BoredPanda that his goal was simple, saying, “Most importantly, I want 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.” His weighty book, Before They Pass Away, captures the still-life images of each tribe in their traditional, formal wear.

His work is a testament to generations that will never know life without the comforts of an iPhone, Wi-Fi and baseboard heating.

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