A genuine visual heritage archive, the exhibition “Before they pass away” will, in August, present photos by Jimmy Nelson taken during encounters with some thirty ethnic groups threatened with extinction. Ambitious by nature, Jimmy Nelson is a smuggler of memories. His work is the subject of an iconographic book, the images of which are exhibited throughout the month every August.
Since 2010, the British photographer has immortalized tribes from the four corners of the world through his lens, fearing that they will lapse unfairly into oblivion. For him, photography provides an opportunity to engage in encounters made up of curiosity, humility and a guarantee of wonder and openness to others. Somewhere between the need to create an archive and following an artistic process, Jimmy Nelson offers up a magnificent aesthetic body of work. Because, even more than the fragility of their uncertain future, it is particularly the beauty of these ethnic groups that catches the photographer’s eye. The piercing looks given by the subjects burst through the image and hit the viewer fair and square. As a witness to folklore at its rawest, each picture is carefully staged. In a sublime setting, the natives pose in their finest clothes. With their specific ethical and aesthetic features, Nelson’s photographs speak to anyone who is sensitive to cultural diversity.