7 life lessons learned from photographing tribal and indigenous people throughout the world

Aug 8, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

7 life lessons learned from photographing tribal and indigenous people throughout the world

Aug 8, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Photography teaches us some very valuable lessons. Some of those lessons are common to all of us. Like, remembering to check your camera battery isn’t flat before you leave the house. Other lessons are somewhat more unique, and profound.

British photographer Jimmy Nelson has spent the past 31 years travelling the world. He photographs tribal and indigenous people to turn them into icons. In this video from the Cooperative of Photography, Jimmy shares some of his most intimate life lessons. Lessons he’s learned from the people he’s met along the way.

YouTube video

It’s a fascinating list, built from some truly unique experiences. I always find it interesting hearing the stories that taught people lessons in life. While many learn the same ultimate lesson, how they learn it can be wildly different.

  1. Humour
  2. Knowledge
  3. Vulnerability
  4. Pride
  5. Judgement
  6. Respect
  7. Reflection

Some of these topics have been covered here on DIYP before. Judgement, for example, is one that immediately springs to mind. Humour is one I re-learn every time I shoot in a river, because I inevitably end up falling over at some point. As long as I’m not holding a camera when it happens, it’s all good.

You can find out more about Jimmy and see the rest of his tribal photography on his website.

What life lessons have you learned through photography? What are the stories behind them? Let us know in the comments.

Images © Jimmy Nelson, used with permission.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “7 life lessons learned from photographing tribal and indigenous people throughout the world”

  1. Gabriele Casini Avatar
    Gabriele Casini

    The Guardian has an article about him: “Jimmy Nelson’s glamorous portraits of African, Asian and Amazon groups dismissed as ‘wrong’ and ‘just a photographer’s fantasy’ by indigenous people and Survival International” https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/oct/29/jimmy-nelson-indigenous-people-survival-international