THE LOST AMAZON
The Photographs of Richard Evans Schultes
“Anyone who sees these photos will be thankful that Schultes, thought by many to be the greatest Amazonian explorer of the twentieth century, considered his Rolleiflex camera an essential piece of equipment on his extraordinary journeys. His field expeditions brought him places no one with a camera had gone before, into the path of medicine men, ceremonial practices, ornate masks, shamans and their dances, sacred waterfalls and rivers, austere mountains, stone engravings, and, of course, exotic plants.”
About the Exhibition
Born in Boston, Dr. Richard Evans Schultes (1915–2001) was the Jeffrey Professor of Biology and Director of the Botanical Museum at his alma mater, Harvard University. He gained international renown for his extensive field studies and discoveries in botany, ethnobotany and conservation, particularly in the Amazon. Beginning in 1939, Schultes investigated and documented natively-used medicinal and toxic plants, and new sources of rubber.
Throughout World War II and into the 1960s, Dr. Richard Schultes led a series of expeditions to study and document the botanical mysteries of the Amazon. During these journeys, he took numerous photographs of plants, landscapes, the people of the Amazon and their ceremonies.
This exhibition presents a selection of 35 of Schultes’ extraordinary photographs taken in the field with his Rolleiflex camera documenting medicine men, ceremonial practices, ornate masks, shamans and their dances, sacred waterfalls and rivers, austere mountains, stone engravings, and exotic plants. Other materials include a selection of legendary ethnobotanist’s original handwritten notes from the field.
With both photographs and original documents, The Lost Amazon comprehensively examines for the first time the photographic work of one of the greatest Amazonian explorers of the twentieth century.
Accompanying the exhibition is the recently published book, The Lost Amazon: The Pioneering Expeditions of Richard Evan Schultes (Earth Aware Editions, 2016). Contributions to the publication include an essay by Wade Davis and a Foreword by Andrew Weil, both former students of Professor Schultes, along with an afterword by co-author and exhibition curator Chris Murray.
Exhibition developed and distributed by Exhibits Development Group in collaboration with Govinda Gallery. Images ©Richard Evans Schultes/Courtesy Govinda Gallery