Before They - Photography Project by Jimmy Nelson


All tribes Kazakh Himba Huli Asaro Kalam Goroka Chukchi Maori Mustang Gauchos Samburu Tsaatan Rabari Mursi Ladakhi Vanuatu Tibetans Huaorani Drokpa Dassanech Banna Karo Hamar Arbore Dani Yali Korowai Nenets Maasai Marken Terschelling China Samui Boxers Miao Mundari Marquesans Chincha Wodaabe
Life in the Omo Valley, in southwest Ethiopia, has changed very little since the turn of the first millennium. Over 200,000 indigenous peoples live a simple life of hunting and raising cattle along the banks of the River Omo. Within the village, the women build and take down the huts during migrations. 
“A close friend can become a close enemy” 
There are serious concerns about the impact of a gigantic dam, currently under construction. It will produce much-needed electricity, but at the same time reduce the river’s flow and tame the seasons of flood and retreat. The fencing of game parks is another threat, restricting the access of the local indigenous peoples.

Arbore Village, Southern Omo

July 2011

Arbore people are pastoralists (livestock farmers).  They believe that their singing and dancing eliminates negative energy and with the negative energy gone, the Arbore will prosper.

The women of the indigenous group cover their heads with a black cloth and are known to wear very colorful necklaces and earrings. 


July 2011

In the past, the Arbore used to possess the monopoly of the ivory trade. They exchange cattle for agricultural products from the Amare Kokke and aquire worked iron from the Kerre and Borana. The Arbore build their huts slightly oval in shape.

The Arbore believe in a Supreme Being creator and father of men whom they call Waq.

Arbore boys

July 2011

Young children will wear a shell type hat that protects their heads from the sun.  Body painting is done by the Arbore using natural colors made from soil and stone.

Traditional dancing is practiced by the indigenous peoples and wealth is measured by the number of cattle a indigenous man owns.