About the British photographer, Jimmy NELSON (b. 1967)
James 'Jimmy' Philip NELSON is known for his portraits of tribal and indigenous peoples. He spent his childhood in Africa, Asia and South America, traveling around with his father, who worked as a geologist. In 1985, at age 17, he left his boarding school and started to trek the length of Tibet on foot. He took a small camera on his trip and photographed his journey, which lasted about two years. Upon return, the collection of pictures he had taken in the formerly inaccessible country were published by the English National Geographic, to wide international acclaim. Following this journey, he embarked on more trips, documenting a variety of war zones, including Afghanistan, Kashmir, Yugoslavia, Somalia and El Salvador, and started to work as a professional photojournalist, until the age of 24. From 1997 and onwards, he began working in the commercial advertising field. During this time, he continued collecting images of remote and isolated cultures, "inspired by Edward S. CURTIS and his great photographs of Native Americans". Like CURTIS, Jimmy NELSON documents his subjects in a romantic, stylised and posed manner. He remarks that the project is not meant to convey "a documentary truth, but rather [his] own artistic interpretation and a celebration of diversity and beauty." The work of Jimmy NELSON work has been criticized for inaccuracies and generalizations. He defended his book 'Before They Pass away' by saying that it was never meant to be reportage, but an "aesthetic, romantic, subjective, iconographic representation of people who are normally represented in a very patronizing and demeaning way." Jimmy NELSON is based in Amsterdam.
Photo books by Jimmy NELSON
'Literary Portraits of China' (1995); 'Before They Pass Away' (2009, 2013, 2015, 2020); 'Homage To Humanity' (2018)