JWT Amsterdam & JWT India have joined forces with photographer, Jimmy Nelson, to fight for an endangered entity we should care about a whole lot more. Culture. Indigenous culture.
The rest of the human race is killing off the most unique indigenous cultures with indifference. In 1969, a band called Blue Mink created an anthem whose chorus was:
“What we need is a great big melting pot
Big enough enough enough to take
The world and all it’s got. And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
And turn out coffee-coloured people by the score.”
The internet hadn’t happened then. Now it has. And it is spreading throughout the world in ways we never imagined. We’re creating metaphorically coffee coloured people with industrialisation, globalisation and cultural saturation led by the increasing predominance of the internet.
We haven’t solved hatred and intolerance one iota. But we are in danger of losing something just as valuable. Irreplaceable, glorious traditions.
This campaign shows off the glories of the world’s last indigenous cultures as it presents a dire warning, Blink. And they’re gone. It warns that if we don’t engage with indigenous cultures now, they will be gone forever.
The campaign kicks off with a short film titled Blink. And They’re Gone, made using more than 1500+ photographs taken by Jimmy Nelson during his journeys into the far corners of the world, showing the never-seen-before images of 36 of the last indigenous communities of this earth.
The images were selected from over 100,000, covering every picture of indigenous people that Nelson has taken over the last 30 years. The film took 90 days to edit and features striking images of the Huli Wigmen from Papua New Guinea, the Kazakhs of Mongolia, the Sadhus of India, the Wodaabe from Chad – and countless others. The film was directed by JWT India’s Chief Creative Officer, Senthil Kumar in Mumbai, working closely with J. Walter Thompson’s Global Creative Lead, Bas Korsten, who is based in Amsterdam.
From here, Jimmy Nelson will work with J. Water Thompson throughout 2019 to build the wider campaign that aims to raise awareness of indigenous cultures and to foster pride and respect for their irreplaceable traditions.
Photographer Jimmy Nelson has made it his life’s work to understand and garner respect for the world’s indigenous cultures through his photography. He presents these cultures in an aspirational and stylised way. And yes, this has previously caused some controversy amongst anthropologists and purists. However, Nelson believes that the beautification of indigenous cultures is an important message for greater humanity and one that is needed now more than ever.
“If we let the cultural identity of the indigenous people disappear now, it will be lost forever. It’s literally a case of Blink and they’re gone,” Nelson commented.
“And if this happens, we will lose one of the most valuable assets we have – our rich human cultural diversity and heritage. The depth and wealth of our humanity will shrink. This must not happen. Our collective cultural identity is too valuable to be destroyed by homogenization. We must unify and fight to support indigenous cultures and take personal pride in the myriad of their cultural traditions that are still to be found on the planet today.”
Nelson’s aim is to start a global dialogue on the imminent loss of humanity’s cultural identity, personified by the rapid decrease in tradition indigenous culture.
Senthil Kumar, director of the film & chief creative officer, JWT India, noted, “It was a huge honour to collaborate with legendary photographer Jimmy Nelson and direct this all-important film. It was life-changing to travel far and wide across the indigenous earth, through each one of Jimmy’s stunning photographs. The ambition is to share the cultural evolution of these remote and ancient indigenous cultures in a mind-blowing form, which will move every viewer to share the experience with the world.”
“When Jimmy contacted me over a year ago I was instantly drawn to his work and his ambition,” added Bas Korsten, global creative lead JWT & creative partner J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam.
“Jimmy wanted to start a global discussion on the preservation of cultural identity. A discussion like the one we instigated with The Next Rembrandt project two years ago. I’m really happy that JWT India’s Senthil Kumar and I can contribute to this unique project with a mix of creativity and technology.”
To amplify that campaign, Nelson has produced a 525-page photography book, titled Homage to Humanity, which is a deep dive into the stories and traditions of indigenous people. The book combines innovative technology, VR and 360 films with Nelson’s photography to create a deeper understanding of indigenous cultures. It includes a free-to-download app which allows the viewer to scan every image to reveal behind the scenes film content and intimate stories of the people who have been photographed.
JWT and Nelson’s mission is to use technology – the very thing that is threatening the cultural diversity of the world – for good, to promote understanding and deeper insights across different cultures. In 2019 this concept will be taken further with the launch of an new technology that will mobilise the fight to preserve global cultural heritage even more.
Join the fight for the preservation of cultural identity, here
Client: Jimmy Nelson
Photographer: Jimmy Nelson
PR Manager: Marit De Hoog
Project Manager: Coco Box
Agencies: JWT India & J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam
Director: Senthil Kumar
Creative Team: Bas Korsten & Senthil Kumar
PR Director: Jessica Hartley
Production Company: Small Fry Productions Mumbai
Editors: Priyank Premkumar, Dev Nayak & Kevin Menezes
Music Director: Dhruv Ghanekar
Vocal Percussion: Taufiq Qureshi
Sound Engineer: Joseph George
Original Soundscapes: Various Indigenous Artists
Post Producer: Jebastin Anton
Countries and cultures Before They Pass Away
|2. Papua New Guinea||Huli
|6. New Zealand||Maori||1|
Countries and Cultures – Homage to Humanity
1st trip 18 Feb – 28 Feb 2016
2nd trip 15 Apr – 25 Apr 2016
Meghwal Marwada group
|2. South Sudan 24 Mar – 8 Apr 2016||Mundari||1|
17 June – 1 July 2016
|4. French Polynesia 9 July – 4 August 2016||Marquesans||Hiva Oa
|5. Chad 23 Sept – 6 Oct 2016||Wodaabe||1|
|6. Bhutan 10 Dec – 24 Dec 2016||Sharchop
24 Jan – 19 Feb 2017
|(eagle hunters in Altai mountains)
(camel herders in Gobi Desert)
31 Mar – 11 Apr 2017
Muchimba / HImba
|10. Papua New Guinea
11 June – 17 July
(in Mount Bosavi)
(in Sepik River)
1. Fjord Waterfall —> Karafu (area)
2. Cave Waterfall —> Uramama (area)
3. Jungle Waterfall —> Kousode (area)
4. Jebo Village
|11. Vanuatu 17 July – 31 July||Yakel Village
Nagula, Ni-Vanuatu community
|12. Mexico 10 Oct – 4 Nov||Chichimecas
Danza de la Pluma (not included in the book)
|(in Misión de Chichimecas, Guanajuato)
(in Kwechi, Copper Canyon, Chihuahua)
|13. Siberia||Nenets – Khudi
|Fly to Salechard drive to Nadym. Then north
|14. Peru 17 March – 7 April||Q’eros
|16. Australia||Bardi Aboriginals