The new global language is not Chinese, English or Spanish. Jimmy Nelson believes it is the visual language of photography. His travels to visit native peoples within small remote communities have become addictive. The bright, colorful, ecstatic feeling that comes through in the resulting photographs is in sharp contrast to a world that sometimes feels emotionally beige. They demonstrate the unique beauty of all the varieties of human life for the viewers and the subjects alike. It is the story he wants to tell and share with the world.
The parallels between the biodiversity of the planet and its cultural diversity are very clear. Our ethnodiversity, our ‘ethnosphere’, must also be protected. It is the sum total and manifestation of all the thoughts, dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations and intuitions produced by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. It is all that we have created through our endeavors as a wildly inquisitive and astonishingly adaptive species. In short, it is humanity’s greatest legacy. We all come from the same source and together we are going through an amazing period of cultural evolution. Peoples with unique cultural identities need to be truly and effectively respected, cherished and supported, for them and for all of us If we are to do so we will all need some of the humility, vulnerability, kindness, generosity and good humor that comes through in these arresting images.
About the Author:
In 1986, after spending a year traversing the length of Tibet by foot, Jimmy Nelson published a unique visual diary to wide international acclaim. In 1987, he was commissioned to cover a variety of culturally newsworthy themes for many of the world’s leading publications. In early 1994 he and his wife Ashkaine Hora Adema produced “Literary Portraits of China,” the result of a forty month project that took them across the newly opening People’s Republic, and was about the indigenous cultures in China and their translated literature. From 1997, Jimmy successfully undertook commercial advertising assignments for many of the world’s leading brands. Simultaneously, he started accumulating images of the remote and unique cultures he photographed, and awards followed. In 2010, he began his journey to create the dignifying artistic document that became “Before They Pass Away”, and was published to international acclaim in October 2013. Today, Jimmy is still traveling and photographing to produce HOMAGE TO HUMANITY. He exhibits in international museums, shows his work at the world’s leading photographic art galleries, speaks at international conferences, and launched the Jimmy Nelson Foundation in October 2016.