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    The Historic Photographers of Zanzibar

    Near the turn of the last century Stone Townwas a bustling port, atrading center, a supply and communication hub and a true International City. Travelers from many lands passed through Zanzibar and like modern tourists, many wanted to keep a record of the sights they had seen.

    Cameras were large and complex in those days, hard to maintain and transport. But Zanzibar was fortunate to have intelligent citizens and business interests with enough foresight and skill to risk importing a number of these new-fangled cameras to the Islands. They were at onceset up to photograph important events, buildings and sometimes local "color" in order to sell pictures to an eager public. We are fortunate that many of these early photos were later made into post cards which survive to this day to give us a glimpse of the past.

    Most Zanzibar Photographers worked and lived in Stone Town but some of their best work was done outside the city.

    Zanzibar photographers knew the advantage of perspective and used it to compose some wonderful images.

    Both work and play were documented by these pioneer artists.

    Stone Town grew to support at least five photographic firms;

    • The Coutinho Bros. who also operated under the name J. B. Coutinho, photographer, Zanzibar.

    To see examples of this Photographer's workclick on this link:

    • The firm of A.C. Gomes and Son.

    To see examples of this Photographer's workclick on this link:

    A. C. Gomes Gallery

    To see a magnificent early Panoramic Photo taken by Gomes in 1902 click on this thumbnail:

    • Pereira de Lord and his brothers, their work often labeled "Photo Artists, Zanzibar."

    To see examples of this Photographer's workclick on this link:

    A. P. deLord Gallery

    • Karim Essa Allibhai

    • Ali Pira Harji

    To see examples of this Photographer's workclick on this link:

    • Ranchod T. Oza.

    To see examples of Mr. Oza's work click on this link:

    At the site of one of these old shops, even today, there exists a tattered, circular, rooftop photo of Stone Town, said to have been taken from the "Camera Obscura" room once set up by early photographers in the tower of the House of Wonders.

    There are many more examples of the work of these great early Zanzibari photographic pioneers in the Zanzibar Archives. The archive building is located just south of Stone Town, near the Prison. The archives, many of which are in English, are open to respectful and careful examination with the assistance of the trained staff. Leave a donation if you visit.

    Collected and Edited by: Torrence Royer

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    Historic Photographers
    Zanzibar Sketches
    Palatial Zanzibar
    Zanzibar mosques
    Zanzibar Women
    Kanga and Zanzibar
    Six Famous Zanzibari
    Oman and Zanzibar
    Zanzibar Courage
    Goa and Zanzibar
    Zanzibar Christians
    Zanzibar Ships
    Lights of Zanzibar
    Tumekuja School
    Zanzibar Golf
    Space Station Zanzibar
    A Funeral In Zanzibar
    Zanzibar Fire
    Zanzibar Revolution
    Nine Hour Revolution
    Mass Graves
    Images of a Revolution
    ??? ?????? ?? ???????
    KiSwahili Pages
    Diving Zanzibar
    111 Links
    Table of Contents
    Search My Site
    GUESTBOOK