Geschreven bij Before They Pass Away
This book is a fictionalised portrait of tribal people, which glosses over the genocidal violence to which many of the tribes pictured are being subjected.
The pictures in this book are false. They are staged commercial photographs, where the tribal people have been told how to dress and asked to pose. They could not be further away from the real lives that these people lead. If his images look like they come from the 18th or 19th century, it's because they do. They echo a colonial vision, Rousseau's notion of the "noble savage". They are outdated, damaging, stereotypical and misguided.
Even worse, 'Before They Pass Away' contains mistakes: the Dani are portrayed as "the most dreaded head-hunting tribe of Papua", an assumption which has been denied by representatives of the tribe; buddhist monks are labelled as Tibetan when in reality the picture was taking in Bhutan, etc, etc. Jimmy Nelson twists facts and reality to tell the story he wants to tell.
Indigenous people have held protests about the content of 'Before They Pass Away'.
Nixiwaka Yawanawá from Acre state in Brazil has a clear opinion about the book: “As a tribal person I feel offended by Jimmy Nelson’s work Before They Pass Away. It’s outrageous! We are not passing away but struggling to survive. Industrialised society is trying to destroy us in the name of ‘progress’, but we will keep defending our lands and contributing to the protection of the planet.”
Don't give money to Jimmy Nelson. He's just another man turning stereotypes and fabrications into profit, making money out of indigenous communities. He did not pay his indigenous models a cent for their presence in this book! If you have money to spare, give it to a charity or an NGO which will actually make a difference, help these people in their everyday struggle with poverty and exclusion.
Do you want to learn about indigenous tribes? Do you want to see beautiful pictures of real people, who have not been dressed up in costumes and asked to pose? Do you want to actually look for solutions and help them, instead of looking at a book that says "See these people? They're about to pass away. Too bad". If you do, go to Survival International's website. Don't waste time or money on this publication, as it will not give you any insight into the reality of indigenous communities.