Exhibited in the great metropolises of Europe, the photographs of Stanley in Africa provided the first images of a region that, at the time, was just a vast, unexplored territory. Coupled with observations, measurements collected and cartography, the photographs contributed to extending people’s knowledge about Central Africa. The photos, accompanied by notes, were notably used to influence city investors and inform the general public.
The albums contain mainly landscapes. The photographs show Stanley’s fascination for wild and untouched nature. Rivers and water courses were of particular interest to him. Elsewhere there are direct, front-facing portraits of indigenous Africans whom the expedition met along the way.