Before They Pass Away is a powerful documentary series by photographer Jimmy Nelson featuring dozens of cultures around the world whose people live in seclusion and are at risk of fading away. Traveling across five continents, the English photographer manages to embrace the various cultures he has encountered and highlights each of the 35 tribes’ unique beauty. There is pure beauty in the photos and what they teach about humanity deeply humbles me.
Kazakh of Eastern Europe & Northern Central Asia
This story will stay with me for many days….
Is there an especially memorable story from your travels for this project that you can share?
There’s a photo of three native Kazakh men from Mongolia with eagles on their shoulders on a mountain. That picture took 4 days to make, because each morning there wasn’t enough light. On the fourth morning, it was about minus 20 degrees on top of the mountain and the light was beautiful. I took off my gloves to take the photo and they literally froze to the camera. I began crying and turned around and saw that 2 women had followed us there. One of them took my fingers and cradled them in her jacket until I got the feeling back and was able to take a couple of shots. What I didn’t know was that these women were actually strict Sunni Muslims, and broke all codes of modesty to aid me. They saw my desperation and did what they could to help me achieve what I was there for.
Tsaatan of the remote subarctic taiga of Mongolia