Jimmy Nelson

Spirit Sisters - Women of the Ladakhi by Jimmy Nelson

Ladakhi woman
Before They are Pass Away - Jimmy Nelson

There are a tribe of Spirit Sister medicine dolls that birthed this year that have been very ancient and beautiful and I have often asked them 'where are you from?' Recently I saw the amazing photographs of Jimmy Nelson in his book Before They Pass Away and found the lineage of these particular dolls. I understand now they are Ladakhi and I can't wait to learn and understand more about these adorned and mysterious medicine women. 
"Ladakh (meaning ‘land of the passes’) is a cold desert in the Northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is divided into the mainly Muslim Kargil district and the primarily Buddhist Leh district. The people of Ladakh have a rich folklore, some of which date back to the pre- Buddhist era." Jimmy Nelson

"Festivals and celebrations are unmissable opportunities for the Ladakh to
display goncha, the traditional dress. Typical costumes include gonchas of
velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots and hats. Well-to-do
Ladakhi women have a striking and opulent appearance." Jimmy Nel

before they pass away... Jimmy Nelson

Photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to visit 31 tribes in 3 years to photograph tribal communities in a bid to draw attention to the need to preserve and protect the Earth and her indigenous cultures before they disappear completely. There is such beauty and grace in the images and a quiet message that is keenly felt.  This is who we are as humans we are so beautiful and unique and connected through the fact we are all inhabiting this planet together. What a tragedy it would be to see any of these people disappear especially when we need their Earth wisdom more now than at any other time. I see dignity and authenticity and I long to know more about each tribe.

When he was eighteen, he ran away from life. Two years earlier, Jimmy's world had changed overnight. He had woken up one morning and all his hair had mysteriously fallen out. This had changed him not only physically, but also emotionally. He felt different from everyone else. Not long after, he dropped out of university and headed east for Tibet to figure out who I was.  

’In 2009, I planned to become a guest of 31 secluded and visually unique tribes. I wanted to witness their time-honoured traditions, join in their rituals and discover how the rest of the world is threatening to change their way of life forever. Most importantly, I wanted to create an ambitious aesthetic photographic document that would stand the test of time. A body of work that would be an irreplaceable ethnographic record of a fast disappearing world.' Jimmy Nelson

'If there were no reindeer we would not exist' the Tsaatan (Reindeer People) Mongolia