Before They Pass Away

British photographer Jimmy Nelson has traversed the earth capturing indigenous tribes from the icy fields of Siberia and Mongolia to the desert lands of Namibia and Kenya, atop isolated mountain tops in India to volcanic islands in Oceania. I got lost in each tribe as I clicked through the Before They Pass Away website, finding myself googling for more information on their customs, languages, and traditions. I encourage you to do the same! Below are some of my favorites, but it really doesn’t do this project justice.

Ladakhi women.

Ladakhi women.


Ladakh “land of the passes” in Northern India

“Leh, the capital of Ladakh, was the home of an independent monarchy for
a thousand years. The Ladakhi royal family, which traces its lineage back
to 300 BC, still lives in Leh, but since India’s independence in 1947, its
influence has been merely symbolic.”

A Rabari woman from India.

A Rabari woman from India.

“The Rabari women dedicate long hours to embroidery, a vital and evolving expression of their crafted textile tradition. They also manage the hamlets and all money matters while the men are on the move with the herds.”

Himba women and child in Namibia

Himba women and child in Namibia

Sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert

Sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert

Himba children are cared for by all the members of the family in the homestead. Between the ages of 10 and 12, the bottom four incisor teeth of the child are knocked out in a ceremony that is believed to protect the child from dangerous influences and ensure the protection of the ancestors.”

Mursi woman, Ethiopia.

Mursi woman, Ethiopia.

“At the age of 15, girls get pierced, after which their lips are stretched out to create enough space to place the lip plate. It is said that the lip plates were invented to make Mursi women less attractive to slave traders. In the tribe today, the bigger the lip plate, the more cattle the girl is worth by the time she is traded into marriage.”

Gauchos in Argentina.

Gauchos in Argentina.

A recreation of the glory days of the Gauchos in the Argentinian Pampas.

Nenet family

Nenet family, northwest Siberia.

“The Nenets are reindeer herders, migrating across the Yamal peninsula, thriving for more then a millennium with temperatures from minus 50°C in winter to 35°C in summer.” I imagine they go through something like this everyday:

About alicestockwellegan

Language and culture enthusiast from New York living in San Francisco.
This entry was posted in Books, Culture, FYI, Indigenous Cultures, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Before They Pass Away

  1. The Dude says:

    Thanks for the tip to check out Before They Pass Away… Found what I’ll be doing for the next few hours. 😀

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