Analysis Of The Poem ' The Before They Pass Away '

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Alexis Giovinazzo Cultural Anthropology March 9th, 2014 Midterm Essay 1: The “Before They Pass Away” project is led by photographer Jimmy Nelson who travelled the world and documented various indigenous cultures between 2010 and 2013. His project is relatively controversial and is intended to spark conversation about these cultures, as well as remain as a resource over time. Photography can be written off as lacking intimacy and understanding of a society, yet Nelson attempts to go further in his relationship with his subjects, and form what he calls “intimate and unique friendships”. The photo projects, while representing Nelson’s positionality, leave the opportunity for viewers interpretations and personal understanding to be developed. In Wade Davis’s review of Jared Diamond’s book, he discusses the idea which Diamond proposes, that culture is derived from “environmental imperatives”. The Himba Tribe is described by Nelson as “tall, slender and statuesque herders” living in “one of the most extreme environments on earth.” Diamond would argue that their culture is a direct reflection of the environment they live in. Davis disagrees with this point and believes that culture is affected by more than just climate. Davis believes that these indigenous societies are important to remind us of alternate ways of life. Davis finds the idea between traditional and modern societies important in its ability to highlight different ways of living, and not a way for us to look
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