There’s a very interesting project out there by a photographer named Jimmy Nelson. The project is Before They Pass Away, looking at some of the few remaining unique human cultures before they all get homogenized away.
An interesting thing (to me) is how many of them still go barefoot.
Unsurprisingly, many of the cultures are in remote areas of the globe, from Siberia to Nepal to Desert Africa to New Zealand to Amazonia. Whether they go barefoot or not depends on the weather. But when the weather allows it, barefoot they are.
Here are just some of the cultures he takes a look at.
The Asaro, or “Mudmen” live in Papua New Guinea.
[Click for larger version of most photos; go to the “Before They Pass Away” website for the full-size pictures.]
Another tribe from Papua New Guinea are the Huli.
In the African Namib (northwest Namibia/southwest Angola) are the Himba.
Obviously, bare feet work in the desert, too.
There are also a lot of tribes in the African Rift Valley, including the Samburu in Northern Kenya.
Down in the Pacific is one of the Micronesian islands, Vanuatu.
Farther south of that is New Zealand, where some Maori barely manage to hang on to their earlier culture.
Deep in the fast-disappearing Amazon jungle are still some native cultures, including the Huaorani.
I’ve shown you just a sampling—go explore the website to see them all. (And quite frankly, the non-barefoot cultures are equally fascinating.) Make sure you read the text to find out more about each of these peoples.
Jimmy Nelson also gave a Tedx talk about his project; you can see that here.
Finally, if the website really whets your appetite, Jimmy Nelson does have a beautiful book out: Before They Pass Away. It might be worth checking it out.