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.
Part of the project is that I will gather images of the 35 tribes I’ve done so far and take them back to the people I’ve visited to create a dialogue, to illustrate the importance of what they have.
There is a POWER who wishes to see all tribal cultures pass, to erode and diminish and make them extinct – the powerful unseen have been operating a very long time… for purposes of wealth and control of resources…this is an epic tragedy that can be undone once we are awake…once we see the source of this POWER