Stunning and Controversial Indigenous Portraits

There’s no doubt that Jimmy Nelson’s portraits of indigenous peoples from around the world are beautiful. They’re exceptionally composed, and the diversity of faces, setting, and dress are stunning. Photographed over several years, the series includes some of the smallest and most remote indigenous groups on the planet, captured in their most ceremonial and impressive of dress.  From Bhutan to Namibia to high in the Andes mountains, Nelson’s lens has documented some amazing cultural diversity, in a series he called “Before They Pass Away“. That title, and some of the staged setting caused controversy when Nelson’s book was released, claiming that he was glorifying a past era that no longer exists.  Controversy aside, we find the images brave and important, capturing fragile cultures in pockets of the world that we rarely see. Via WBUR:

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Huli Wigmen, Ambua Falls, Tari Valley Papua New Guinea, 2010

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Yang Shuo Cormorants, China, 2005

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Himba, Epupa falls, Namibia, 2014

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Khoyor Tolgoi Hill, Altan Tsogts County Bayan Ulgii Provence, Mongolia 2017

Mount Bosavi waterfall, Papua New Guinea, 2017

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Likekaipia Tribe Ponowi Village, Jalibu Mountains, Western highlands Papua New Guinea, 2010

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Samburu tribe, Kenya

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Mask dancers, Paro, Bhutan, 2016

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NI Vanuatu Men Rah Lava Island, Torba Province Vanuatu Islands, 2011

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Korcho Village, Omo valley Ethiopia, 2011

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Tangge Village, Upper Mustang Nepal, 2011

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Ndoto Mountain Range Kenya, 2010

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Paro Pass, Bhutan, 2016

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Miao Village, Liu Pan Shui, Gui zhou, China, 2016

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Lake Argentino / Cerro Christal on horizon Patagonia Argentina, 2011

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Perak women, Thikse Monastery, Ladakh India, 2012

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Uramana clan, Amuioan, Tufi, Papua New Guinea, 2017

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Ganges, Haridwar, India

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Vaioa River, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, 2016

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Te Aroha Mikaka & Sky Bay of Islands, Haruru falls, North Island New Zealand, 2011

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Q’ero | Qochamoqo, Hatun Q’eros, Andes

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