Background: Africa
Porter was initially attracted to East Africa by The Immense Journey, Loren Eiseley's popular meditation on the beginnings of humanity. When his editor, John Macrae, invited him to produce a book on the region with travel writer Peter Matthiessen, he jumped at the opportunity. In February 1970 on the first of his two trips, Porter climbed Mt. Kenya. He then turned to north Tanzania to experience the wildlife in the Serengeti plains northwest of Ngorongoro Crater. In June 1970 he returned to the region to explore parts of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda on extensive safaris. Matthiessen, who was familiar with the region, dictated much of the itinerary of these safaris, including visits to Lake Turkana in north Kenya; Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, Mt. Meru, and the Momela Lakes in Tanzania; and Queen Elizabeth Park, Kidepo Valley, Lake Albert, Murchison Falls, and several sections of the Nile river in Uganda. Throughout the project, Porter sought to reflect the natural abundance and fragility of the region, mixing broad vistas, animal portraits, and occasional close-ups. In 1972 Dutton published the Matthiessen-Porter collaboration as The Tree Where Man Was Born: The African Experience. This collection section holds 388 prints.

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