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.
“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.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
A recreation of the glory days of the Gauchos in the Argentinian Pampas.
“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: