National Geographic : 1992 Mar
On Assignment W hen a 400-pound subject turned investigator, pho tographer MICHAEL "NICK" NICHOLS knew just what to do. He had barely snapped the photograph on pages 2-3 when the silverback came up to take a sniff (above). Retreat would have aroused aggression and endangered Nick's backside. "I had no choice but to take this submissive fetal position," he says. "I am on my knees, belch ing like a gorilla. It's their hello." Flying over Rwanda in 1979, Nick saw his bush pilot point to a forested slope below, saying, "That's where that crazy American lady lives alone with gorillas." As a lifelong GEO GRAPHIC reader, Nick realized that he meant Dian Fossey. A year later for Geo magazine, Nick hiked into the mountains to do a feature that led to a book-Gorilla:Strugglefor Survival in the Virungas(Aperture Foundation, Inc., 1989)-and to an obsession with the great apes and their dilemma. "You can talk your self blue in the face about protecting the apes," Nick says, "but people will listen to photographs." Breaking through an icy barrier to the past, anthropologist JOHAN "JOE" REINHARD dives in one of the world's highest lakes looking for Inca artifacts. Near the summit of 19,508-foot Paniri, he encounters water reddened by phytoplankton. It's a long way from New Lenox, Illinois, where as a boy Joe orga nized camping trips to search for Indian relics. When buddies bowed out, he went on alone. An expert mountaineer, Joe PETERWILKINS participated in a U. S. Everest expedition in 1976. Climbing in Chile, he heard about mountaintop ruins, and his career took a turn. He has since identified Chavin de Huantar and Tiahuanaco as pre Inca sites of mountain worship. He has also uncovered Inca sacrifice victims. "Coming face-to-face with the remains is like meeting the people themselves," he says. "The mummies are so lifelike I feel close to them and their culture." ROB BLATHERWICK NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC (ISSN 0027-9358) IS PUBLISHEDMONTHLY BYTHENATIONALGEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY,17THANDM STS. N.W ., WASHINGTON, D. C. 20036. $21.00 A YEAR,$2.65 A COPY. SECOND-CLASSPOSTAGEPAIDAT WASHINGTON,D. C., ANDELSEWHERE.POSTMASTER: SEND ADDRESSCHANGESTO NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC,P.O. BOX2174, WASHINGTON,D. C. 20013.