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Before they pass away

Before they pass away is a book from British photographer Jimmy Nelson. I first heard about him during TEDx Amsterdam last year. Nelson held an inspiring speech there.

I have looked and seen this book so often in a bookstore I decided to put it on my wishlist for my coming birthday this August. Then I thought I would like to share the story of the book here. A bit late, 6 months after it was released I will take you along in a journey of one of the inspiring photographers.


Jimmy Nelson was 3 years on the road travelling across the globe to photograph 34 indigenous tribes spread in the world.


And here are the result of patience, respect, perseverance of connecting and building trust and friendship with the people. I see proud warriors, loving parents, hardworking farmers and celebrations.











As a hobby photographer I stare endlessly at the pictures, anaylizing the techniques, timing, composition, colours and the light. Then comes the bonding part for the posing portraits. Just beautiful!

I wonder how many photogear he brought along with him, camera, lenses and flash or perhaps no flash. Tripod maybe but no reflector and lightmeter. Ah, I am just in awe.

Taking his pictures so aesthetically in the nature shows how dedicated Jimmy Nelson is to his job. Despite the remote location and sometimes harsh nature circumstances he was more than successful in capturing the essence of life of the tribes in their own living space. For example during winter when it is 10 degree Celsius below zero I am barely able to take pictures. My hands freeze fastly I could barely feel the shutter. Imagine Nelson took the pics in Siberia and Mongolia where temperatures drop 30 degree below zero!

Looking at Nelson’s breathtaking photographs is like looking at the world. Sadly it is also a fact that gradually these tribes are more and more forced and faced with the risk of losing their culture, tradition and customs due to world’s globalization.

This book is a well documented memory for the coming generations, Before they pass away.

Before they pass away
All pictures are courtesy of Jimmy Nelson

10 thoughts on “Before they pass away

  1. I know nothing about photography if you show me a picture/ photo i would just say awesome/beautiful,nice and not bad. But i love those pictures. Is there story behind the picture in that book mbak yo?, i follow neilshea13 on instagram and mitchel k on FB because their beautiful pictures and they put the story

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