Marquesans

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Marquesans

Having been fascinated by traditional bodily decoration for many years, it was no wonder that Jimmy would eventually end up photographing the Marquesan Islanders of Northern French Polynesia. 

"Before you go out and take a picture, reflect on who you are and what you are trying to communicate in the first place"

The brooding mountains of Temetiou and Fenani provide a magnificent backdrop for the first pictures Jimmy makes of the horsemen. Crawling through the river, Jimmy lost all common sense as he was driven to capture this breathtaking scene.

Hakahau, Mount Oave, Ua Pou, French Polynesia 2016
MarquesansGo to tribe
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Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Hakahau, Mount Oave, Ua Pou, French Polynesia 2016

Vaioa River, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Vaioa River, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

As the plane broke down Jimmy had to travel to Ua Pou by boat. This turned out to be the most spectacular way to approach the island. Huge ballistic columns reaching into the sky named after the legendary warriors; Poutetanuni and Poumaka. In 1888 they inspired the poet Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote Treasure Island. He described them as volcanic arrows looking like a church bell towers, proudly overlooking the bay of Hakahau the main village of the island.

Hakamou’i, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands French Polynesia, 2016
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprints available

- Jimmy Nelson

Hakamou’i, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands French Polynesia, 2016

Having been fascinated by traditional bodily decoration for many years, it was no wonder that Jimmy would eventually end up photographing the Marquesan Islanders of Northern French Polynesia. The brooding mountains of Temetiou and Fenani provide a magnificent backdrop for the first pictures Jimmy makes of the horsemen. Crawling through the river Jimmy loses all sight of common sense as he was driven to capture this breathtaking scene.

 

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

The wild horse is an integral part of the Marquesan landscape. It’s a common sight to see adults and children travelling around the rugged islands on tamed horseback. The men look like they just stepped out of a Walt Disney movie, just perfect. A lot of tattoos, more muscles and faces chiseled out of stone make the picture complete.

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands are shrouded in mystery, history and legend. They are geographically so isolated that they are the most remote island archipelagos from any continent on the planet. Located 1500km north of Tahiti and spread over 12 islands of which only a few are permanently inhabited.

Hakahau, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Hakahau, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

Since the 1970’s there has been a very strong cultural renewal. The Marquesans are retaking ownership of their songs, dances, carvings and most importantly their tattoos. This spectacular bodily decoration has been a way of transporting their ancestral memories through many generations.

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

The island Hiva Oa was made famous by the French Renaissance painter Paul Gauguin. Jimmy’s journey was timed to witness French Independence Day on the 14th of July: a great introduction to a riot of celebration where all locals gather to show their traditional past. Instant contacts were made with local Marquesan men and women to begin with organizing a studio for portraits.

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

As the horses nervously wait for Jimmy to take his pictures, the black sand glistens with the setting sun.

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

These sharp peaks seem to soar like missiles from the island and are almost constantly shrouded in swirling mist. Jimmy was on the island for only a week and was worried that he would not get the opportunity to capture them in all their glory.

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

Hakamou’i, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Hakamou’i, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

As with all tropical settings there is water everywhere. Unending heavy downpours lead to some cascading waterfalls, which are, as always, a popular backdrop for one of Jimmy’s group portraits.

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

For the last half year Jimmy has been experimenting with a variety of large format digital cameras. Finally, Jimmy has found his new camera! The Leica S will be replacing the old 4x5 plate camera. Time to move on and very proud to be associated with the legendary Leica Camera. 

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

Thousands of mosquitos, pouring rain and sticky clothes. Despite the circumstances Jimmy was ecstatic by the pictures he made of the handsome Marquesan men. Stumbling across the stones Jimmy still has a smile on his face...

Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

The last rays of sun lighten up the spectacular scene of the day. High palms swaying in the wind, majestic peaks and Jurassic Park like birds flying around. It feels like the edge of the world.

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Te Pua O Feani, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands

Hiva Oa is also called the garden of the Marquesas. It’s an island so fertile that it leads to a celebration of natural color and creativity being displayed in flowers that adorn all the Marquesian women. It felt as if the whole island turned up over the next few days to show how proud they are of their cultural traditions. Children especially made an effort to use all forms of plant and flowers to ornate their body. Mother nature provided inspiration for all.

Hakamou’i, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands
MarquesansGo to tribe
Marquesas IslandsGo to journey ›
Artprint available

- Jimmy Nelson

Hakamou’i, Ua Pou, Marquesas Islands