A passionate message from Jimmy Nelson

Traditionally speaking at the end of year bottles of champagne are popped to consolidate the year that is about to pass and to anticipate the year that is to come. But as 2020 will be the start of the decade of delivery, Jimmy Nelson would like to inspire you to give back to the world some of the warmth and love you feel when you've emptied that bottle of champagne.


Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 18, 2019 - With the opening of the new holiday season on the horizon, the new short film See the Bigger Picture is launched by the artist Jimmy Nelson. Together, the film and the book Homage to Humanity convey the ultimate holiday message: let’s celebrate traditions, come together and reconnect. Because no matter how different we may seem from one another, we are all family, we are all ONE. The interactive book Homage to Humanity (2018) allows the reader to go on an extraordinary journey and experience the cultural richness of our world like never before. Every purchase contributes to the Jimmy Nelson Foundation, whose mission is to safeguard the world’s cultural heritage. Thus, the circle is now complete.

“In his strenuous travels with an archaic studio camera, Mr. Nelson visited 35 of the world’s least known and most imperiled tribal peoples — from the Huli and Kalam tribes of New Guinea, to the Tsaatan of Mongolia and the Mursi people inhabiting the highlands of the Omo River valley in remote southern Ethiopia.”

New York Times

For over 30 years, Jimmy Nelson, known from his books Before They Pass Away (2013) and Homage to Humanity (2018) has been travelling the world in order to visit and connect with indigenous communities. He works with attention to detail, setting the stage with meticulous care and passion. It is all about perfection - a measured balance of shapes, colours, and, most importantly, light. It means that he can be working on one image for days at a time, before he achieves his interpretation of visual perfection - the magic required to convey his message. Every image and each person in the book has a story to tell, from the stunning Sarchop in the Himalayas of Bhutan, to the icy Tundra in the north of Siberia, home to the unyielding Dolgan reindeer-herders.

“This personal artistic documentation is a way of re-igniting the fire and pride within and for indigenous people, of creating mutual respect for all people, and of empowering future generations all over the world to illuminate their cultural heritage.”

Photographic Artist Jimmy Nelson

This is exactly what Christmas is about. It originated within a very long, rich and diverse human cultural tradition. Everyone has different traditions, but what we have in common is the feeling that we share something. It is the one time a year that we set aside our interpersonal differences and make being together the most important thing of all. By lighting candles, singing songs and consecrate rituals we celebrate the cultural traditions our forefathers initiated throughout history. This time of the year is about thankfulness for what our ancestors have achieved. It is about appreciation for our earth, being nourished and being able to pass on the knowledge to sustain a healthy human existence. It is about gratitude for all people. This is exactly the message Jimmy conveys.

“We all come from the same source, we all have one ancestor. This realization, is now more urgent than ever. In order to meet the enormous challenges we face as humankind in the "decade of delivery" we should see the bigger picture and stand united in diversity.”

Jimmy Nelson

Fun extra: to view the See the Bigger Picture film, the above photo of the Dolgan reindeer-herders can be scanned with the Companion App. This immediately brings the viewer to the hidden film behind the photo, where Jimmy's holiday message is unfolded.

Watch the short film here.

Editors and writers are invited to speak to Jimmy and his global team of creatives who support his cause. To arrange a call with Jimmy and his team please contact:

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    Lili van Lith

    +316 52710933
    Public Relations & Art Consultant

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About Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson (UK, 1967) started working as a photographer in 1987. Having spent ten years at a Jesuit boarding school in the North of England, he set off on his own to traverse the length of Tibet on foot (1985). The journey lasted two years and upon his return his visual diary, featuring revealing images of a previously inaccessible Tibet, was published.

Soon after (1987) he was commissioned to cover a variety of culturally newsworthy themes for many of the world-leading publications ranging from the Russian involvement in Afghanistan and the ongoing strife between India and Pakistan in Kashmir to the beginning of the war in former Yugoslavia.

In early 1994 he and his Dutch ex-wife Ashkaine Hora Adema produced Literary Portraits of China. A coffee-table book about all indigenous cultures in China and their translated literature. From 1997 onwards, Jimmy undertook commercial advertising assignments for many of the world’s leading brands. Meanwhile, he spent his whole life accumulating images of indigenous cultures.

In 2010 he began his journey to create the artistic document that became Before They Pass Away, which was published in October 2013. Its success and the responses to it have enabled and encouraged Jimmy to continue this journey. In October 2018, Nelson published the first interactive book Homage to Humanity, for which he visited another unique 34 indigenous cultures around the globe. The book is accompanied by the 2019 Webby Award-winning mobile application that makes it possible to scan every image in the book and bring them to life with exclusive films, interviews and 360 ̊ film material. This allows people to see the making of the work and to understand the process behind it.

Today Jimmy is using an 8x10 analogue plate camera to bring the project to its next level. Jimmy strongly believes that if you change the way you look at people, the people you look at change. And if that change is powerful enough, it will gather momentum to affect the whole of humanity. A message that today he is promoting through talks at international conferences and museum exhibitions. With the proceedings of his art projects, the Jimmy Nelson Foundation was set up to take it a step further in supporting the communities on the ground.