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  Field Notes From
Into the Amazon

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Into the Amazon On AssignmentArrows

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From Photographer

Nicolas Reynard

Into the Amazon On Assignment

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From Author

Scott Wallace

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Nicolas Reynard


Into the Amazon

Field Notes From Photographer
Nicolas Reynard
Best Worst Quirkiest
    When I started working on this story, my editor told me not to worry about forcing contact with these Indians because they wanted me to focus on how we could protect them. Had I been at any other magazine, the editors probably would've wanted some sensational front-page story with the headline "First Contact Made With Indian Tribe!" It was such a good feeling to know that— without them realizing it or seeing us—we were helping protect this group that could someday be endangered.

    After walking one behind the other through the jungle for several hours, we finally stopped for a break. That's when I noticed the porters who were carrying my film and the writer's notes were missing. We waited around for two hours hoping they would show up, but they never did. We were almost certain that a group of fierce Indians had captured and killed them.
    Eventually we sent a small search party into a nearby village, but it was empty. The Indians must have fled right before we arrived because all we found were fires, cooking food, and our porters' footprints.
    We followed their prints out to the riverbank and finally located our guys, alive and well. They had snuck away from the group because they wanted to see the Indian village, even though our expedition leader had forbidden it. But once they reached it, Indians started screaming at them. So they ran off. I was very happy to see them, but this was by far the most stressful day of the three-month expedition.

    Once we ensured that our porters were OK, another worry cropped up. Where were the bags with our film and notes? When I asked the men where they dropped them, they pointed their fingers in no specific direction and said, "Ah, they're over there. We'll get them tomorrow." I didn't feel good about leaving more than a month's work sitting in the jungle, but they wouldn't budge. And I was left with little faith that we would actually locate the bags. 
    The next day we followed the porters for two hours through the jungle, and they went straight to my bags. It was hard for me to understand how they found them. As far as I could tell, there wasn't any path. We were surrounded by dense green vegetation. But for the men, certain trees, the topography, and the way the light cuts through the jungle are equivalent to a street address.

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