Before They Pass Away (Photography) (English, French and German Edition) (German) Multilingual Edition
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For sheer splendor, the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris combined can barely touch the eagle hunters of Mongolia. Riding squat ponies through the mountains, these Turkic peoples wear high-domed and winged fur hats, embroidered felt boots and leggings, cloaks of reindeer hide, studded metal belts, fearsome hooded eagles perched on their arms.
The fierce elegance of their clothing fully matches that of the stark landscape they inhabit; it also, and not incidentally, testifies to the irrepressible human will to beautify.
That conclusion inevitably results from viewing "Before They Pass Away," the British photographer Jimmy Nelson's tombstone-size new volume (teNeues, $150) documenting vanishing tribal cultures around the world. The book results from a project taking years and is less ethnology or anthropology than a document of his romance with otherness.
In his strenuous travels with an archaic studio camera, Mr. Nelson visited 35 of the world's least known and most imperiled tribal peoples -- from the Huli and Kalam tribes of New Guinea, to the Tsaatan of Mongolia and the Mursi people inhabiting the highlands of the Omo River valley in remote southern Ethiopia.
Guy Trebay, New York Times.com Fashion and Style Section, October 18, 2013
The ingenuity of tribal societies shines in "Before They Pass Away"...Nelson brings the expressive personalities further to life with a photographic style derived from Irving Penn and Malik Sidibe, making for a visually rich and fascinating read-and an ideal conversation-starter on any well-curated coffee table.
Fabio Morelli, Elle Décor.com, October 8, 2013
Jimmy Nelson has spent the past three years traveling to some of the most remote places on Earth capturing the lives of indigenous people, from the frigid moutains of Mongolia to the endless sandy deserts of Namibia.
Drama and emotion are crucial to Nelson's photography because he's on a search for beauty.
Lorraine Boissoneault, weather.com, October 1, 2013
- Item Weight : 12.1 pounds
- Hardcover : 408 pages
- ISBN-10 : 3832797599
- ISBN-13 : 978-3832797591
- Dimensions : 11.85 x 2.13 x 14.96 inches
- Publisher : teNeues; Multilingual edition (October 15, 2013)
- Language: : English, French, German
- Best Sellers Rank: #503,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The photos in the book are just plain beautiful. Each tells its own story, without words, but with the visual connection the reader has to the photograph and the subject of the photo, along with the physical and social environment of each culture as depicted in the images.
Yes, the book is pricey. The question is whether it's worth the money. The answer for me (and hopefully for you) is Yes.
A couple of the pages in the book I received had been damaged in its making and were stuck together and had to be cut apart, a shame for such a lovely and fairly expensive book.
The book is organized by "tribe", basically: There are a few dozen sections each devoted to one group of people living in Africa, Tibet, Siberia, Bornea, South America etc...At the beginning of each section there's a page-long intro to that people, with sections on their history, beliefs, and how they live day-to-day. And then the images come and you see faces that are identical in some cases to faces that existed many thousands of years ago. But they, and their cultures, are still around today.
The world is changing so quickly that it is astonishing to see all of these different ancient people in one place. And it is all the more amazing when you realize that these are indeed PEOPLE: Humans, who live lives that are almost unimaginable to those of us in post-industrial societies.
Again, this isn't just a great book. It's a vitally important work that will haunt and delight you. If you were considering buying a copy, don't: Just buy it. You won't regret it, not for an instant. It's amazing. (And BIG.)
I am an art teacher and am constantly pushing my students to think beyond themselves. The natural beauty and majesty of the people photographed for the pages of this , large and heavy, book remind us all of what is really at stake when we live without thought of others.
I have bought 4 copies of this book this week. One for my studio as reference, 3 as gifts to my older apprentices. I cannot Thank Mr. Nelson enough for his efforts in taking these breath taking pictures.
This is a must have for anyone who any interest in beauty and humanity, it will provoke conversation and hopefully action.
Top reviews from other countries
My only caveat is that the photographs are rather staged. They are beautiful and evocative, but the book has a slight feel of a Victorian explorer's staged pictures of the world rather than realistic portrayals. Nevertheless a rather wonderful book, and if you want to get an impression of the once vast cultural diversity in the world it is worth getting hold of a copy.
From a photographic perspective, the book is a treasure trove.