Tim McDonnell is a journalist who has spent a lot of time in Uganda as part of a Fullbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship. For his most recent project—appearing in NPR’s The Salt—McDonnell gave cameras to coffee farming families on Mount Elgon and the results are breathtaking.

According to the article, coffee makes up around 20% of Uganda’s export revenue. But the effects of climate change could halve that by 2050, costing the country 1.2 billions dollars. For this project, McDonnell wanted to “find out exactly how Uganda’s coffee farmers view their experience of climate change.” So he gave them disposable cameras.

None of the 12 farming families that McDonnell equipped had ever used a camera before, but of the shots that came back, “many are candid, well-composed and achieve a level of intimacy that would be hard for an outsider to capture.”

As McDonnell notes:

There were other revelations, things that people might not normally associate with climate change, but that are painfully obvious to those living in its harsh reality. Pictures of nondescript dusty roads show the challenges of transporting produce to market; photos of children in uniforms represent school fees, which is many families’ biggest cash expense — paid for by coffee.

The shots are incredibly honest, some sadly beautiful.

Beyond statistics about drops in production or more abstract affects to nations as a whole, these photos put into perspective the myriad way climate change affects real individuals at origin.

The full collection of photos can be found here.

Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.

*all images via NPR

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