Bob Nelson Images - Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my web site.  At the moment you can see the beginning of my work on the web which has been based on a photographic exhibition called ‘Africa…Face to Face’ held in the Noosa Regional Gallery, Queensland May-June 2008. The success of that exhibition enabled us to contribute over $9000.00 to 'The School of St Jude' in Tanzania, Africa. I have recently added 'Face to Face' galleries and books for Papua New Guinea, India, North East India, China, Bhutan and Myanmar.

About Bob

Bob was born in Canada but now lives in Noosa, Australia.

At the age of 12 he was given a Brownie Box Camera which he used on an experimental basis to photograph his family and friends.

At the age of 14 he joined the school's camera club and learned how to develop his own photographs.

It wasn't until the year 2001 when Bob retired and became a keen photographer. He has two passions, one travel and the other photography. This, he claims is a perfect fit. His favorite subject matter is trival people and cultural diversity. He has indulged this passion on many trips to Africa and Asia. His website, which is always under construction, is

Without being intrusive, he attempts to capture the story that can be seen in the faces of many of the tribal portraits and cultural activities he takes. Since many of the areas he visits are remote, he would like to share his photographic journeys with others who may never have the opportunity to travel to these amazing places.

My Photography

I have always found that my camera can be a way of connecting with my subjects. The camera gives me an opportunity to communicate without knowing the language, only smiles-the universal language. My camera can be the beginning of a conversation. WIth some simple sign language, I can ultimately establish a friendly rapport with my subjects.

In this book I have focused on portrait photography. I find that a person's face can be indicative of, and connect me to , their underlying character. In some cases, the expression on their face may reveal their life style and the type of environment in which they live.

I have found that the countries I travel to serioulsy indulge my favorite pastime, Candid, Street and Portrait Photography.

Commonly, people approach me and ask me to take their photograph. Wher possible, I always mail a copy of their photograph back to them.

The friendly and spiritual nature of the Indigenous piople have given me many enjoyable and memorable photographic opportunities....

So many interesting cultures, like those in India, Africa, Myanmar and China are changing and seem to be 'westernisint' and abandoning their fascinating cultural heritage at an unbelievable speeds. I believe that it important to photoographically record these fast changing cultures before they eventually disappear.

Africa Face to Face

‘Africa… Face to Face’ is a collection of photos which will always remind me of my African trips. This book represents three of the most memorable. I have had the opportunity to photograph some of the most fascinating tribes in Africa.

In many ways this book is in total contrast to my original wildlife safaris where my focus was primarily the photography of animals. Elephants and the ‘Big Cats’ have always amazed me and I have always found it easy to sit and watch them for hours.  I believe that with continuing efforts being given to the conservation of the animals in Africa, we will be able to enjoy seeing them for many years. On the other hand, tribal life, as it has been in the past, is being continuously eroded by contact with us. I would like to document and share some of my experiences before this incredibly interesting culture disappears.

The three trips that this book explores, deal with the people of Africa who are being continuously absorbed into our Western cultural. For example, the young girls in the Surma tribe in Southern Ethiopia are becoming very reluctant to tolerate the discomfort of wearing the traditional lip disks. I believe that this continuous cultural erosion is one of the reasons to photographically document their disappearing way of life.

Papua New Guinea

This website shows a small collection of Photographs taken on a trip to Papua New Guinea in August, 2009. I travelled with a small group to Port Moresby, Wewak, Kairiau Island, Ambunti, Simbai, Madang, Paiya and Mount Hagen. The highlights of my trip were the Crocodile Festival in Ambunti on the Upper Sepik River and watching people painstakingly put on makeup and practice their singing and dancing in Paiya. Payia is a village 2 hours from Mount Hagen where many tribes prepare themselves for the famous Mount Hagen Cultural Festival the following day. We also really enjoyed visiting a small village near Simbai in central PNG.

The Mt Hagen show was originally held to bring the many tribes together where they were encouraged to dress in traditional costumes and to dance and sing with each other. In Pidgin language, this is known as a ‘Sing-Sing’. There were over one hundred different ‘Sing-Sing’ groups, each having their faces artistically painted and wearing traditional costumes decorated with shells, pigs tusks and feathers. The singing and dancing along with the colourful costumes created an amazing spectacle. Each tribe competes at the show in front of judges for the honour of being ‘best in show’.

To give you an idea of the cultural diversity on this Island, there are over 850 different tribes and more than 800 different tribal languages spoken.

We were often invited to visit small villages and schools where we were always warmly welcomed as guests.

In terms of Biodiversity, Papua New Guinea boasts over 3000 different species of Orchids and 760 different know species of birds.

I hope that these images will give you inspiration to visit this fascinating place one day.


The friendly and spiritual nature of the Indian people gave me many enjoyable and memorable photographic opportunities. I often think of my time there as "Unforgettable India".

So many interesting cultures, like those in India, are changing and seem to be 'Westernizing' and abandoning their fascinating cultural heritage at an incredibly rapid rate. I believe that it is important to photographically record these fast changing cultures before they eventually disappear.

Burma (Myanmar)

In 2012 I had the pleasure of visiting Myanmar with my wife, Wendy, and another well travelled couple.

We concentrated on the main tourist attractions consisting of the bustling city of Yangon which has the highest number of colonial period building in South East Asia and the famous Pagodas of Bagan, one of the richest archaeological sites in South East Asia. We also visited Lake Inle where the fishermen row boats with one leg, while catching fish in unique pyramidal nets.

The most beautiful tomatoes I have ever tasted are grown on floating islands on Lake Inle and taken to Nyaung Shwe where most of these absolutely delicious tomatoes are shipped to Yangon. A visit to Pyin U Lwin gave us a taste of Colonial Hill Town Resorts. After Mandalay we went South to Sitwe and Mrauk-Un where we saw ruins of the ancient Capital with ancient fascinating Pagodas and Temples.

That trip was so enjoyable that I decided to return to Myanmar several months later by myself with my own driver/guide. On this last trip I was able to focus on tribal photography in both the Eastern and Western States. In the Western State of Shan I photographed the ‘Long Necked’ tribe whose necks are elongated with large brass rings. On one of my treks I was taken to a small Akhu village where they are noted for black teeth. The teeth are blackened with burnt tree bark and I’m told that they never get tooth aches.

Leaving Mandalay we drove to the Chin Hills where we visited several tribes with tattoos. Each tribe tattoos faces and necks in distinctive pattern. The practice of tattooing is no longer allowed and only the elderly women now have these tattoos.

For me, some of the most memorable moments of my trip were trekking to remote wooden Monasteries and spending time with the friendly and hospitable Monks.

Throughout my trip I found the Burmese people incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Myanmar has a population of about 60 million with the largest city of Yangon having 4.5 million. There are estimated to be 135 different ethnic groups with about 90% of the population practicing Buddhism.

What makes this country so fascinating to explore is the contrast between its colonial history and its tribal diversity.

I hope when you are looking at this book that it may inspire you to travel to Myanmar.

Once again, I have to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Sandra Faye, my editor, who has put this book together.


In 2018 Bob returned to Angola for the second time to do more tribal photography. He believed that since Angola is one of the less visited places in Africa, it was very important to document some of the tribal culture there. Some of his work will be on the web site early in 2019.