The Rare and Beautiful World
Our modern world has long been fascinated with the indigenous tribes who thrive in remote parts of the Earth. When we look at these people, we see something beautiful, but unfamiliar. We see what life once was and we imagine what it could be, if our lives were free from the technologies and modern constructs that form our societal norms (how would we occupy our evenings without our endless Facebook feeds and selfies?).
It’s our fascination with that which is different that makes projects like Before They Pass Away so intriguing.
It’s creator, photographer Jimmy Nelson, spent more then three years travelling around the world, capturing stunning images of people from far away places. On his website, Jimmy discusses his intentions when he set out to begin the ambitious project:
“In 2009, I planned to become a guest of 31 secluded and visually unique tribes. I wanted to witness their time-honoured traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever.”
What we find most interesting however, are not the differences between these people and ourselves, but rather the similarities. Regardless of where or when you were born, we as human beings all need to be part of a tribe (even if we prefer to call them families, cliques, or social circles). We also enjoy the comfort of tradition (even the weird ones… no wait, especially the weird ones). And who could possibly argue that we don’t put a tremendous value on appearances? We all go to great lengths and partake in elaborate grooming rituals with hopes to intimidate or impress our fellow human beings.
(A good example is Peacocking. Now you know.)
Another connecting factor is body modification. Humans have been decorating themselves with permanent ink and bits of metal for centuries. And that trend is not disappearing anytime soon.
What is disappearing however is our connection to one another and to ourselves. Simple lives filled with honour, love, and joy are replaced with expensive cars, Instagram, and overtime. So when we look at these pictures and see something that needs protecting, when we look at these people and see the shame in technology changing their lives, take a moment to consider the role it plays in our own. If you want to preserve something beautiful, look in the mirror.