About Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson (UK, 1967) started working as a photographer in 1987. After ten years at a Jesuit boarding school in northern England, he set out on his own through Tibet on foot (1985). The trip lasted two years and upon his return his visual diary, containing revealing images of a previously inaccessible Tibet, was published.

Shortly thereafter (1987), he was commissioned to cover a variety of culturally noteworthy topics for numerous world-renowned publications ranging from Russian involvement in Afghanistan and the ongoing conflicts between India and Pakistan in Kashmir until the start of the war in the former Yugoslavia. .

In early 1994 he and his Dutch ex-wife Ashkaine Hora Adema produced Literary Portraits of China. A small book on all the indigenous cultures of China and their translated literature. From 1997, Jimmy undertook commercial advertising assignments for many major global brands. During this time, he spent his entire life accumulating images of indigenous cultures.

In 2010, he began his journey to create the artistic document that would become Before They Pass Away, which will be published in October 2013. Its success and the reactions to it have enabled and encouraged Jimmy to continue this journey. In October 2018, Nelson released the first interactive book Tribute to Humanity, for which he visited 34 other unique indigenous cultures around the world. The book comes with the award-winning Webby Award 2019 mobile app that scans all the images in the book and brings them to life with exclusive films, interviews and 360 ̊ cinematic material. This allows people to see the making of the work and understand the process behind it.

Today, Jimmy uses an 8×10 analog plate camera to take the project to the next level. Jimmy firmly believes that if you change the way you see people, the people you look at change. And if this change is powerful enough, it will expand to affect all of humanity. A message that he conveys today through international conferences and museum exhibitions. With the results of his artistic projects, the Jimmy Nelson Foundation was created to go further in supporting communities on the ground.


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