The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Photographing Spirituality

James Estrin, co-founder of the The New York Times Lens blog will be exhibiting a collection of his work documenting human spirituality at the 92nd Street Y on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.

A woman performed a Hindu ritual in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. 2005.

Michael Winerip, who is familiar with Esterin’s work notes:

Having worked many, many 12-hour days with him, I can say firsthand that James Estrin’s photos definitely don’t happen by themselves. Beginning Jan. 7, a collection of his work documenting human spirituality will be exhibited in a solo show at the 92nd Street Y on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. It is a subject to which he has repeatedly returned since he started at The Times in 1987, and encompasses everything from photos at churches and synagogues to prison sweat lodges and childbirth suites.
While some of the worst atrocities in history have been committed by people warring over religion, Jim hunts for the commonalities among faiths.
Still, photographing spirituality is a tricky business.
“The challenge for me is capturing the essence of an invisible event,” he said.
He can see the invisible because he is spiritual himself, and knows where to look. Jim believes in God and man. “The earth was created imperfectly,” he said. “It’s our role to try and perfect it.”


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Portraits of Cultures on the Brink of Extinction

Before They Pass Away is a powerful documentary series by photographer Jimmy Nelson featuring dozens of cultures around the world whose people live in seclusion and are at risk of fading away. Traveling across five continents, the English photographer manages to embrace the various cultures he has encountered and highlights each of the 35 tribes’ unique beauty.

From Ethiopia and Nepal to Papua New Guinea and Siberia, Nelson exhibits a wide array of environments that these diverse tribes inhabit.The refreshing project goes beyond exhibiting humans across the globe, though, documenting their culturally rich lifestyles and appearances. Each community displays their own means of survival while retaining their distinct spirituality and exhibiting their diverse decorative adornments.

There is a very human appeal to viewing Nelson’s series. Though modern civilizations are equipped with technology and an abundance of unnecessary possessions, the photographer digs deep into the remote tribes of the world, finding something far greater than gadgets and gizmos—a sense of humanity.

An interview with the photographer can be found here.  Also, Before They Pass Away is a book that is available to purchase directly through the publisher’s website.