It’s so easy to get caught up in what we that we often forget there are so many different types of realities happening throughout the world, some of which we could have never fathomed to be true.
While many of us buzz around in our cars, on our phones, in and out of offices, and relax at restaurants, in our homes in cul-de-sacs or nestled among a big city, hitting the gym, trendy outfits, or enjoying our eco-friendly flair, there are parts of the world where such modern life is completely non-existent — to the point where it feels more surreal, more like a movie setting, than anything else.
But every now and then, we are reminded that life exists outside of our bubble. Aerial photographs of an isolated tribe in the Brazilian rainforest are one of the most recent examples, as they expose a look at a Neolithic way of life that has all but vanished from Earth’s existence.
Brazilian photographer Ricardo Stuckert took high-resolution images, which show a colorful yet discreet indigenous community living in total isolation within the Amazon jungle.
“I felt like I was a painter in the last century,” Stuckert said to National Geographic of his reaction to spotting the natives. “To think that in the 21st century, there are still people who have no contact with civilization, living like their ancestors did 20,000 years ago—it’s a powerful emotion.”
The photos, which were taken near Brazil’s border with Peru, are revolutionary in the sense that, because they are so close-up, they reveal specific information about the Indians that had largely gone unnoticed by experts before, like the emphasis on body paint and their haircuts.
“We thought they all cut their hair in the same way,” noted José Carlos Meirelles, an expert on Brazil’s indigenous tribes. “Not true. You can see they have many different styles. Some look very punk.”
The tribe became the subject of global conversation back in 2008, when agents from Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency, Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI) published images of the tribesmen covered in red body paint shooting arrows at their hovering airplane. Since then, the tribe has reportedly moved several times. According to Meirelles, they move locations about every four years.
Stuckert had boarded a helicopoter with Meirelles to visit the jungle outpost of Jordão near the border of Peru when thunderstorms forced the vessel to detour, which ultimately resulted in the occupants being directly over an isolated settlement of thatched huts in the jungle. Naked inhabitants of the community reacted with shock, running out of site and into the forest.
But the tribe’s panic soon turned to curiosity as they returned a few hours later.“They seemed more inquisitive than fearful,” explained Stuckert to National Geographic. “I felt there was a mutual curiosity, on their part and mine.”
Because the tribe has never made a successful and peaceful relationship with the outside world, the name of their tribe is unknown. Brazilian officials therefore call them the “isolated Indians of the upper Humaitá.”
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