The continent of Africa has always exerted a strong pull on the imagination of the adventurous, through the mystery of its native art and artifacts, the promise of untold riches, and the lure of the unknown. The Exploration of Africa documents the history of this passion in a large format, with a vivid and concise text and hundreds of beautiful photos and illustrations. Though the mouth of the Congo river was discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1483, much of the African continent remained terra incognita until the eighteenth century, when merchants and arms traders opened trade routes within the continent. In 1871, the journey of journalist Henry Morton Stanley to rescue the explorer David Livingstone captured the public imagination and sparked a craze for African art and artifacts. After the continent was partitioned by the Berlin Conference of 1885, school textbooks featured edifying images of African natives and makers of commercial goods used stereotyped portrayals of natives in their advertisements, belying the fact that, deep within the continent, rapacious profiteers were turning the jungles into the "heart of darkness" that Joseph Conrad documented. The Exploration of Africa offers the unique opportunity to share the sights and impressions of the actual explorers—both in their words and with photographs of what they saw—and to see how their adventures resonated in the public imagination, with reproductions of the art and ephemera, newspaper and magazine illustrations, that were inspired by them.
Arts-Photography, Photography-Video, Travel,