Lonely Planet Writer

Disappearing cultures from around the world captured in photo essay

Russian photographer Alexander Khimushin has been travelling the world for the past eight years in order to document the disappearing indigenous cultures that he meets along the way.

Born in the coldest city in the world,  Yakutsk in Siberia, Alex developed an interest in photography from a very young age when he would spend hours developing film in the darkness of his bathroom. When he was old enough to travel, he packed his bag, hit the road and has visited more than 84 countries since he began his journey. “I have always been fascinated of how diverse our world is. This diversity comes in many forms and, for me, travelling is probably one of the best ways to experience it.”

He began travelling around the world as a travel photographer, shooting mainly landscapes and nature. After a few years he begame less interested in landscapes and more interesting in the people who lived there. He told Lonely Planet News that “while travelling the world, I realised that people were the most interesting part of my travel experience. I was fascinated by people living in remote, off-the-beaten-path places, where traditional lifestyle and ancient culture remained untouched by the outside world. I felt that every aspect of life there had a close connection to culture and traditions of people.”

A little girl from the Oroki tribe
This girl is a member or the Oroki tribe. They live on Sakhalin Island, beside Japan and their numbers are critically low. Image by © Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces

Since then, he has begun a project called The World in Faces. He has travelled deep into Siberia and China, to places unknown by the outside world where some tribes of people are down to their last few hundred. He wants to tell their stories before it’s too late. Alex feels that globalisation is causing a lot of people and cultures to die out and wants to chronicle them. “I believe that without cultural diversity our world will become faceless. Globalisation in a short period of time has wiped out most of the world traditions that existed for thousands of years.”

A man poses with a puppy and a rifle.
An Evenki elder from Siberia.  A nomad all his life and now that he is retired he finds it difficult to settle and live in a house. Image by: Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces

This project is also important to him because he wants to share the idea that we are all on the same side, we are all human. He explains: “people all over the world, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or culture, deserved to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their background. Our differences are not a reason to hate each other. Quite the opposite – we must admire and respect it!”

A woman stands surrounded by wildflowers.
A  woman from the Tazy tribe in far east Siberia. Some estimates say that their population is down to as low as 284.  Image by: Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces 

Alex will continue to document these very unique people all across Siberia and estimates that it will take him another year before he is finished. For him, it is a labour of passion, love and necessity.

A girl poses for the camera in traditional Evenki clothing.
An  Evenki girl from the Republic of Buryatia, Siberia. Image by: Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces

For more information on this project check out his Facebook page or his Instagram.

The photogrpaher poses with some local people
Photographer  Alexander Khimushin. Image by: Alexander Khimushin / The World In Faces