For sheer splendor, the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris combined can barely touch the eagle hunters of Mongolia. Riding squat ponies through the mountains, these Turkic peoples wear high-domed and winged fur hats, embroidered felt boots and leggings, cloaks of reindeer hide, studded metal belts, fearsome hooded eagles perched on their arms. The fierce elegance of their clothing fully matches that of the stark landscape they inhabit; it also, and not incidentally, testifies to the irrepressible human will to beautify. That conclusion inevitably results from viewing "Before They Pass Away," the British photographer Jimmy Nelson's tombstone-size new volume (teNeues, $150) documenting vanishing tribal cultures around the world. The book results from a project taking years and is less ethnology or anthropology than a document of his romance with otherness. In his strenuous travels with an archaic studio camera, Mr. Nelson visited 35 of the world's least known and most imperiled tribal peoples -- from the Huli and Kalam tribes of New Guinea, to the Tsaatan of Mongolia and the Mursi people inhabiting the highlands of the Omo River valley in remote southern Ethiopia. Guy Trebay, New York Times.com Fashion and Style Section, October 18, 2013
About the Author
Jimmy Nelson (born Sevenoaks, Kent, 1967) started working as a photographer in 1987. From 1997 onwards he began to accumulate images of remote and unique cultures photographed with a traditional 50-year-old 10 x 8 plate camera. Many awards followed. When he started to exhibit and sell these images successfully and internationally, this created the subsequent momentum and enthusiasm for the initiation of this project: Before they Pass Away.