Photographer’s Library : Jimmy Nelson – Before They Pass Away

Originally, this was suppose to be a review to a completely different book. But I had a delivery on Saturday….
Yes, all my notes about previous book went to one side, and I had to write few lines about this beautiful new addition to my photographic library. The title of the book is “Before they pass away” by Jimmy Nelson.

The book itself is huge. It is by far the biggest book in my library and my three and a half year old son had a problem in lifting it up. 🙂 There is no way you can read this in bed, a sturdy coffee table is definitely required.

Nelson started his project in 2009. His main goal was to photograph different tribes around the world before they disappear. 
In the book we can find photographs of 29 tribes together with brief description of the tribe. This idea very similar to what Salgado did in Genesis, but the approach is different. Where Salgado is focusing not only on the people but also on the landscape and animals, Nelson’s book is all about the tribal people, but there are few pure landscape photographs as well. The main difference is in the technique, with Salgado using only Black and White pictures, Nelson is opposite, his are all colour photos, sometimes with enhanced colours.

Jimmy Nelson found the last tribesmen and observed them. He was not trying to photograph the day-to-day life of the tribe, quite opposite; his pictures are individual portraits of the members of the tribe or very stylized group portraits in environments close to the tribe. Carefully orchestrated portraits coming alive on every page. Jimmy Nelson’s vision connects us to the purity of mankind and it’s a triumphant celebration of tribal peoples. Through his lens we can see tribes stand up in pride…. Nelson’s work reminds me of the work of another great photographer Edward S. Curtis. Which, as Nelson said was his great inspirator.

I love this book and I would recommend it to everybody, it’s really stunning work. I just secretly hope Nelson will produce something like volume two….

You can see most of the pictures from this book on Nelson’s website: Link

or on his facebook page:

Michal Tekel