Jimmy Nelson, a British photographer and traveler, doesn’t usually take pictures of celebrities on the red carpet, models wearing high heels or men on motorbikes. Instead, he takes photos of people who wear animal pelts and paint their faces to frighten enemies. They are members of endangered tribes from all over the world, from Chukotka to Papua New Guinea. Their cultures and traditions are an important heritage for all of us, and their primeval appearance will impress you more than anything you’ve ever seen in the movies.
Bright Side would like to present a unique photo project «Before they pass away» by Jimmy Nelson about ancient and little-known tribes from the most remote corners of our planet.
Goroka (Papua New Guinea)
Goroka is the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province. The indigenous population is particularly close-knit because of its close proximity to the civilized cities. The residents in Goroka still believe in spirits and have great respect for the wonders of nature.
Their main weapons are not only bows but also war-paint and ornaments. It seems the indigenous warriors know a lot about impressing and intimidating the enemy.
Goroka Show takes place here every year. More than 100 tribes of the region present their dances, songs, and traditions to guests of the show.
Huli (Papua New Guinea)
The large Huli tribe survives by hunting, and this is what men mainly do. Women are usually good in farming and gathering; travelers are always impressed with their beautiful gardens.
The Huli tribe paints their faces yellow, red, and white to frighten the enemy during tribal wars that happen very often.
Their famous tradition is making wigs from their own hair. These wigs look like plumed hats fancifully decorated with feathers of paradise birds and parrots.
Kalam (Papua New Guinea)
The locals live in their traditional villages. Civilization hasn’t reached them yet, so while men go hunting, women do the gathering and farming.
Young boys of the Kalam tribe look forward to growing up to get their noses pierced during the initiation. And then, finally, they will be able to paint their faces.
Men care a lot about their appearance; they cover their bodies with ornaments and necklaces made from beaks of hornbills, wild flowers, and feathers.
Asaro (Papua New Guinea)
Asaro (originally ’Asaro Mudmen’ meaning ’people from the Asaro river, covered with mud’) is a mysterious and enigmatic tribe, and it’s known primarily for the fact that its members cover themselves with white clay and wear specific clay masks.
Masks represent the Papuan belief in spirits. Long or short ears, tusks, horns, and mouths are arranged on the masks unlike normal people usually have.
Maori (New Zealand)
The main aspects of Maori traditional culture include art, dance, legends, community, and tattoos. For example, a high social status has always found its reflection on drawings on the body, and tribesmen without tattoos have been considered worthless.
The Haka military dance is one of the most famous Maori’s traditions. These strange dances are accompanied by singing, beating hands, trampling, and spanking palms on thighs.
The indigenous inhabitants are adherents of polytheism, so they honor various gods and spirits. They believe that supernatural creatures are omnipresent, and they can help in case the tribe needs it.
Chukchi survives by reindeer husbandry and hunting, and local women keep houses, sew, and embroider.
However, locals also find time for art; they like carving on walruses’ bones and tusks.
In this severe region, hospitality and generosity are highly valued, so Chukchi is always ready to offer a meal and place to stay for any traveler.
Himba is an ancient tribe of shepherds. Both men and women can have several partners, and each member of the tribe belongs to two clans, through their father and their mother. Moreover, life of each tribesman is regulated by the tribal elder.
The appearance of a Himba member tells everything about their place within the group and phase of life. They wear very little clothing, but they are very attentive to details like hairstyles, jewelry, and make-up. Women put on make-up every day.
The former kingdom of Lo is linked to Tibet by religion, culture, and history, but it’s a part of Nepal politically.
Most locals still believe that the world is flat and that diseases are caused by evil spirits.
When the eldest son inherits the family property, the younger one goes to stay in a monastery which is built in almost every village.
Members of this tribe have distinctive Persian facial features, and they migrated from the Iranian Plateau a thousand years ago. The Rabari are now found in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
While men herd flocks, women devote plenty of hours to embroidering, keeping houses, and solving all financial issues.
Almost the entire bodies of the Rabari are covered with tattoos for beauty, religious and therapeutic purposes.
Jimmy Nelson has traveled around the world for three years. He lived together with representatives of the endangered tribes and cultures, sharing bread with them and trying to get to know more about them while they were trying to get to know him. As you can see, a real trust has arisen between the photographer and tribes. It seems every person in the pictures stares straight into your heart.
The photographer who took these snapshots: Jimmy Nelson