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The Porters of Kilimanjaro Photographic Project

Thanks for this contribution to Helen Osler

porter-shot-2 Anyone who has climbed Kilimanjaro will know what a huge part the porters played in their climb. As a photographer, I can vividly remember standing on top of Kilimanjaro in a sea of clouds watching with intrigue and amusement as the porters who had accompanied us to the top muscled in on summit photos, grabbing cameras to record our happy moment. And from there sprang the idea for the The Porters of Kilimanjaro Photographic Project – a chance to see the mountain through the eyes of a working porter.

The project is currently distributing disposable film cameras to porters who work on Kilimanjaro to collate a unique record of life on the mountain. Many of the published photographs available of porters on Kilimanjaro are taken from a distinctly Western perspective and taken by professionals on specialised equipment. Removing the technology and textbook expertise from photography can create some fantastic and unexpected results – especially when coupled with documenting day-to-day life on the roof of Africa.

The ultimate aim of the project is to create a book and series of exhibitions of the images in order to raise money for Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, a non-profit organisation based in Moshi, providing support and education to porters as well as educating climbers on the proper working conditions and treatment of porters on the mountain (visit for more information).
To date 40 cameras have successfully gone up and down the mountain but we need your help to keep the momentum going so as to collect a good variety of images:

How can you help?

We need to distribute as many cameras as possible to porters on the mountain.

Distribute: If you are travelling to Kilimanjaro and can help to distribute cameras please contact me.

Donate: One camera costs less than $5 and takes 27 images. If one person can donate one camera to one porter we can build up the number of images very quickly – can you fit one in your backpack?

Spread the word: If you know someone who might be interested in the project or the work of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project please forward on the links.

Please contact me to help, donate or ask for more information