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Nobody is better know for taking portraits of the indigenous people and tribes spanning the
world then Jimmy Nelson. His acclaimed work captures the diverse lives of many from all walks
of life. Jimmy was born in Sevenoaks, a small town in Kent, in 1967, but his entrance into the
world of photography came in 1987. Before he started Jimmy was sent to a Jesuit boarding
school at the age of 8 after spending his childhood in Asian, South American, and African
countries. Here he developed alopecia totalis a condition that caused all of his hair to fall out.
After his time in boarding school ended Jimmy began a year long trek on foot through Tibet at
19. Packing a small camera with him Jimmy was able to capture the lives of the previously
unseen Tibetan tribes. At the end of his journey Jimmy had put together a visual diary of his
travel which received substantial notriatey and created his base for photography. After his
venture Jimmy was commissioned to photograph a variety of global events: the bloody conflict
in the Kashmir region of India, the start of the war in Yugoslavia, and the Russian involvement
in Afghanistan. One of his biggest projects commenced in 1992, when he was commissioned by
Shell Oil to put together a book called “Literary Portraits of China.” His work was presented
after his 36 month journey with his wife in children’s Palace on Tiananmen Square. After his first
major project Jimmy took on major commercial deals with large companies and brands. At the
same time Jimmy was also using an old fashioned plate camera, gathering photos of remote areas

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and their people. After this Jimmy began his passion project, “Before they Pass Away,” that was
funded by a Dutch billionaire named Marcel Boekhoorn. This project consisted of portraits form
tribes that spanned the globe, in fact 35 tribes were published in his work that gained national
recognition in 2014. To this day Jimmy still travels the world, capturing portraits of elusive
tribes and people and is also starting his work on part 2 of his “Before they Pass Away” project.
You can see his work in many museums and art galleries across the work. Apart from this Jimmy
has also giving many speeches and found the Jimmy Nelson Foundation in 2016. Currently he
lives in Amsterdam and Ibiza with his wife and three children. 

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