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British photographer vows to document ancient tribes - 'Before They Pass Away'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 23rd, 2013
Catholic Online (

Gaining the acceptance of people has been the key to British photographer Jimmy Nelson's work. His latest book, "Before They Pass Away" is a stunning collection of photographs of the world's vanishing tribes and indigenous peoples. It is hoped that the book will serve as a pictorial document about the diversity of human life found on Earth.

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LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Traveling widely as a young man, Nelson has spent the last three years photographing 35 of the most aesthetically beautiful and remote tribes in all corners of the world.
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Nelson's journey took him across all five continents, from the mountainous region of Bayan Olgii in Mongolia, the Baliem Valley of Papua New Guinea and the wildest parts of southern Ethiopia.

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Nelson is careful to point out that the book is primarily a commercial project as opposed to some grandiose political statement. He is optimistic that the book will create a greater awareness of the beauty and individuality of the people around the world.

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"The essence of the project is to make people aware of how scarce their individuality is. Not to be patronizing, but to say this is what you are and to show them they have a value that is precious," Nelson says

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"The world is changing and we're not going to stop it, but I hope in my own way, to encourage them not to abandon everything that makes them so individual."

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The similarities of the tribes that Nelson photographed was obvious. "From a social perspective they were the same," Nelson says. "The further you get away from civilization, the more people work as a family unit, the greater respect they have for the older generations and for each other. The further away you get, the kinder people are."

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The next step for Nelson is to return to all the tribes he photographed and show them the completed book. He then intends to photograph a further 35 tribes in more politically unstable areas of the world where he would require special permission from authorities' help to get access.

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