Press: Sidetracked Magazine feature ‘River Gambia Expedition’

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.07.05 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-18 at 8.54.20 AM‘In 1818, Gaspard Mollien, a young French explorer, knelt and drank from a tiny pool of water enveloped by a dense thicket in the remote Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. His discovery by locals at this sacred spot would have surely meant his death. This seemingly inconsequential puddle, filled from giant underground cisterns in the belly of the ferruginous Fouta plateau, was the end to his epic quest – the source of River Gambia. Almost two hundred years later, entering the same woods, I felt deep reverence, something approaching religious and spiritual. I had spent almost a year tracing maps to determine this actual spot, and only when Helen, my wife and expedition partner, found Mollien’s diary at the Royal Geographical Society…’ Jason Florio - read more in Sidetracked Magazine, June 2014

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Other relevant links that you may like to check out, from the Florios West Africa travels:

River Gambia’ – Jason Florio’s portraits of people who live and work along the river (the blog carries on after this post)

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - 930km African odyssey‘ the blog

Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey‘ – Jason Florio’s award-winning portraits of the alkalo’s (village chiefs) and elders taken whilst on the walk

Makasutu – mecca in the forest‘ Jason Florio’s large format B&W portraits of the people who live and work around a sacred forest

Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘ Jason & Helen Florio’s most recent project in The Gambia

Meet the Press – news and awards

 

Youtube: ‘River Gambia’ – scenes from a 1044km source-sea African odyssey – a short film by Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio

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Malian Fisherwoman © Jason Florio - ‘River Gambia’

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Please click on the image, or here, to view the footage

‘Malian Fisherwoman’ © Jason Florio – ‘River Gambia

YouTube footage © Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio – taken from the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’

Meet the press : aCurator, Geographical Magazine, VQR, Trunk Mag, Flak Photo, Dangerous Magazine, BBC, Stella Zine, National Geographic, GUP Mag, Outside, Life Force Mag, Travel Africa…

Thanks for the press!

We are just updating our ‘Meet the Press’ page, here on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ blog, with the latest from Geographical Magazine – we got the cover, with one of Florio’s last images of our long journey, from his ‘River Gambia‘ series. And we were was astounded at the considerable amount of great international press we’ve garnered over the last couple of years, leading up to, during, and post both expeditions – our first one being in 2009 : ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘, which produced and award-winning body of work ‘Silafando‘ – Florio’s formal portraits of Gambian village chiefs and elders, who we stayed with, and which he took at the end of each day of our walk.

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Geographical Magazine - Cover shot © Jason Florio

With huge gratitude from both of us, all of the following and more have helped to share our journeys worldwide : aCurator, Geographical Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, Trunk Magazine, Flak Photo, BBC News in Pictures, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, GUP Magazine, Life Force Magazine, Dangerous Magazine, Stella Zine, Africa Geographic, Arik Airlines, Foto Care Blog, The War Diaries, Travel Africa Magazine, G-Layer Magazine, The Gambia Blog, Gothamist… . Read more about press, awards, and exhibitions here

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aCurator ‘River Gambia’ © Jason Florio

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VQR - Life on the River Gambia. Images © Jason Florio

We’re now looking forward to seeing what the near future brings and we hope that we’ll garner as much interest for our next venture(s) – which includes holding our first Gambian photography workshop, teaching young students, in December this year.

However, more on that shortly.

Onwards, upwards – and sometimes a little sideways…

The Florios (H & ‘Flo’)

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H & Florio - on top of the world – Mali Ville, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conakry, West Africa

 

 

November Newsletter – press, exhibitions, and photography workshops in The Gambia

Gambia photo workshops - nov news letter

To read the November Newsletter, please click on the image or here

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To read the November Newsletter, please click on the image or here

What the Florios are up to next

Photography workshops for students in The Gambia:
Whilst we were resting in The Gambia, after finishing our river expedition, we had the fortuitous opportunity to meet the cultural liaison from the US Embassy there – he was extremely interested in what we had done and a big fan of photography. We got talking about how we could share our skills with young African students – kids are fascinated with the camera and are often satisfied with just looking at their image on the screen, laughing hysterically, and then running away. However more than a few seem much more curious about how the camera actually works… . Please click here to read the full newsletter update.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by. More news coming soon.

The Florios (H & Flo)

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Florio & H – the end of a very successful exhibition of the River Gambia images, and video, at Photoville, NY, 2013

 

Looking back : the River Gambia Expedition team pay a visit to those people who will be displaced when the proposed dam is built

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The village of Runde Bara, Senegal – one of the villages which will be wiped out if the proposed dam on the River Gambia is built © Jason Florio

Tuesday 22nd October 2013: As Florio and I continue to carry on with the writing of our book about the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ we’re revisiting the journey, we completed in January of this year, day by day. Following is an excerpt from just one day out of the two months we spent on the road and canoeing the River Gambia – documenting the lives of those people who live and work on one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers -  through three West African countries – Guinea-Conakry, Senegal, and The Republic of The Gambia 

Blog post:December 12th, 2012

Back in Kedougou, Senegal – prepping to get ‘The Twins’ – Ally 811 canoes – onto the River Gambia + negotiations, Senegalese style.
Florio and Ebou return late afternoon, from the proposed site of the dam – which will result in the entire population of three villages being ‘relocated’ – on the Senegal side of the river and four to five on the Guinea-Conakry side. Florio had spoken with some of the local villagers in the area who had been told by the government, in 2011, that they were to stay where they were, for now. The reason being was that the dam construction workers would need to be fed and housed. However, the villagers would be ‘compensated for everything’. ‘Hey people, stick around for a bit longer, before we shove you off the land that you have lived on for hundreds of years – to a undetermined location – so that you can cook, launder and take care of the very people who are going to wipe your history right off the map!Read more here
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Sightseeing on route to Runde Barra – Dindefalo waterfall, Senegal © Jason Florio
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We also filmed during the entire expedition and recently, when we were invited to exhibit Florio’s ‘River Gambia‘ body of work at Photoville, New York, 2013, we put together a short piece of film for the event. Please click here or on the below images to view. ‘River Gambia’ © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio
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More updates coming soon – particularly about the photography workshop we are prepping to teach, to young Gambian students, come December. Stay tuned!
Thanks, as ever, for checking in.
The Florios (H & Flo)

Working on sequencing for Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ images – exhibiting at Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013

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Helen Jones-Florio – “I think this one fits here”  (with Jason Florio) of the River Gambia images for Photoville, 2013

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UPDATE: TUESDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2013

TWO days to go until Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013, opens its shipping container doors to the public! We are busy preparing the ‘River Gambia’ exhibition – presented by Virginia Quarterly Review: images by Jason Florio and curated by Helen Jones-Florio and Jason Florio.

We’ll be exhibiting images from our ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ – with huge thanks to VQR for their support.

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Pascal Prince – A Small Light Room – working on  the ‘Boy in the Fur Coat’ © Jason Florio

Pascal Prince of ‘A Small Light Room’, NYC, has just finished printing an exquisite 36×54″ of the ‘Boy in the Fur Coat‘, which will be featured on one of the doors, as you enter our shipping container. Thank you, Pascal (formally Richard Avedon’s master printer) for being the master of our large format prints over the years.

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Exclusive to Photoville, we will be screening never-shown-before film footage which we shot whilst on the River Gambia journey – edited by Jason Florio, footage by Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio.

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Florio working on the edit for a Photoville exclusive : ‘River Gambia’ film footage

We hope you can make it down to the event – 19-29 September 2013 – please click here for all the details on scheduling. Come by our shipping container and say ‘hi’!

The Florios (Helen & Flo)

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PHOTOVILLE is a new Brooklyn-based photo destination, a pop-up village of freight containers transformed into temporary exhibition spaces, which first took place in the summer of 2012. Photoville featured a feisty mix of exhibitions, lectures, hands-on workshops, night-time projections, a photo dog-run, a camera-flower greenhouse, and a summer beer-garden with food trucks that created a photography destination like no other.

Occupying more than 60,000 sq. feet in the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, in its first year Photoville was located on the uplands of Pier 3, along the Brooklyn Waterfront and attracted close to 40,000 visitors over 2 long weekends.

SAVE THE DATE!
PHOTOVILLE will return Brooklyn Bridge Park from September 19–29 on the Uplands of Pier 5′

Looking back – those who helped make the River Gambia Expedition possible. Today, our thanks goes to Concern Universal

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Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal – WASDA Garden, Basse, The Gambia

As we continue to trawl through 1000′s of images and multiple journal entries, for our forthcoming book about the River Gambia Expedition, we’re reminding ourselves of those who helped make our journey possible and, in the case of Concern Universal, adding the comfort and ease of passage factor to the first leg of our road trip down towards the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea – where we would pay homage to the source of the mighty River Gambia and the true beginning of our West African odyssey. For this, in the age old West African tradition, we bartered.

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Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal

Before we left The Gambia, for the source, we visited a number of community-based gardens where Florio took photographs for CU – for their ‘Gambia is Good‘ (G.I.G) initiative. In exchange, they supplied us with a vehicle and a driver – Nicolas – to take us over the border into Senegal, with our two canoes, all our gear and our two Gambian team mates, Abdou and Ebou. What could have been a lengthy and expensive nightmare – getting through customs – was made seamless, partly due to being driven in a shiny 4×4, with NGO number plates, and having a huge seriously-important-looking radio antennae sticking out of the hood of the vehicle! We even managed to get the BBC World Service on the way!

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G.I.G van – CU Head Office, Fajara, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

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Jason Florio – shooting for Concern Universal, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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Jason Florio - shooting for Concern Universal, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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Our next stop: GADOH – Gambia Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing © Helen Jones-Florio

In our quest to document the lives of the people and communities whose lives depend on the River Gambia, we had phenomenal support from many, many people and companies. And, we are sure to be coming across more images from everyone who got involved – which we will post as and when.

Please stay tuned for further updates – especially about our River Gambia book!

The Florios (H & Flo)

P.S. If you are in Brooklyn, New York, between 19-29 Sept, come by and say ‘hello’ to us at Photoville

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‘Swimming Horses’ by Jason Florio – ‘River Gambia’ presented by VQR at Photoville, NY – Sept 19-29

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Swimming Horses‘ crossing the River Gambia, Karantaba, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Just one of Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia‘ images – presented by VQR – which we will be exhibiting at Photoville 2013. From the series of images taken whilst on the ‘River Gambia Expedition - 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘.

Swimming Horses‘ is also available to purchase – sizes range from 8×10″ (unlimited edition) – 40×50″ (limited editions). Please visit our website gallery for details and both color and black and white collections: Florio Fine Art Photography Prints.

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The countdown - as of 5th Sept, 2013

See you at Photoville!

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Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013 – VQR presents ‘River Gambia’ – images by Jason Florio, curated by Helen Jones-Florio

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Photoville Brooklyn NY 2013 – click image to visit the website

We are honored to be part of Photoville 2013 – where we will be exhibiting Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ body of work. The images are from our ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’.

‘UNITED PHOTO INDUSTRIES ANNOUNCES PROGRAMMING FOR PHOTOVILLE, A FREE PHOTOGRAPHIC VILLAGE COMPRISING OVER 45 SHIPPING CONTAINERS IN BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK, SEPTEMBER 19-29

Photoville – schedule of events, 2013 (click on image to visit website)

Over 40 exhibitions, 7 photo screenings, 30 talks, 20 workshops, community events, ALL FREE, plus food & beer garden

And, it’s with huge thanks to the Virginia Quarterly Review for supporting our exhibit at Photoville 2013.  Florio has been a contributor to the multi award-winning literary journal since 2009. So, when we returned to New York from the river in West Africa, we were thrilled when the publisher, Jon Peede, approached us about running a feature on the new images, from our journey. And, just imagine our delight when the proofs came through to us and that VQR were running 18 pages of images, on line and in their printed journal! The layout was quite beautiful too – wondrous to see our long journey in print.’Crikey, did we really do all that?!’

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Click on image to view Photoville post

‘Established at the University of Virginia in 1925, the Virginia Quarterly Review has won six National Magazine Awards in the past decade—more than any literary quarterly in the nation. VQR has published work from 17 Nobel Laureates and more than 50 Pulitzer Prize winners. The magazine publishes photography, photojournalism, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, translations, art, reportage, and criticism. Its many honors include selection as a finalist, National Magazine Award for Photography, 2012; winner, Overseas Press Club Best Use of Online Video, 2011; winner, National Magazine Award for Multimedia Package, 2011; and winner, National Magazine Award for News Reporting in the Digital Medium, 2010. In recent years, VQR has published photography portfolios by Nadia Shira Cohen, Maisie Crow, Jason Florio, Aaron Huey, and Ed Ou, among others. In addition to the print magazine, VQR has online readers in more than 200 countries.‘ Courtesy of VQR

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Cover: Jason Florio - ‘Facing Mogadishu’

VQR Prize for Photography 2012
Jason Florio for three pieces:
“Facing Mogadishu” (Winter 2012)
“A Violent Prone, Poor People Zone” (Winter 2012)
“The Black Zone” (Summer 2012)

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Ebou, Abdou, Helen & Florio – the source of the River Gambia, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea

So much has happened since we set out to pay homage to the humble source of one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers – the River Gambia – naught but a puddle, high up in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry, in West Africa, in December of 2012.  We then went on to paddle the river from Kedougou, Senegal, to the where the river meets the immense Atlantic Ocean, in The Gambia itself ,on January 12th, 2013; the smallest West African country on the continent, named after the mighty river.

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VQR – Life on the River Gambia. Images © Jason Florio (the source of the River Gambia – opening page)

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Mission Accomplished! The River Gambia team, Denton Bridge, The Gambia, West Africa – where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean

At this years Photoville, again, with huge thanks to our supporter, VQR our 20 foot shipping container/photo gallery will be amongst such esteemed company as aCurator, Time Lightbox, Douglas Ljunkvist, Jim Mortram, Nina Berman, American Illustration, Pete Brook, Indie Photobook Library, Magnum Foundation, V11, Chris Hondros Fund, The Open Society Foundation…check out the more on the Photoville website

Photoville – here we come!! More updates to come, about what else we’ll be exhibiting in our container.

Please stop by and say hello. We’d both love to see you. Sept 19-29, 2013

The Florios (H & Flo)

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Thanks to Peli Products UK for keeping our gear dry on the River Gambia!

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Florio oversees our precious cargo on the start of what would be a very long seafaring journey indeed- including the ‘1690′ Peli Product UK case – Redcoat depot, Nr Gatwick Airport, UK – Oct 2012. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

As Florio and I shift through hundreds of images, to see what we want to put in our forthcoming book about the ‘River Gambia Expedition‘ (it’s a difficult task – every single image has it’s own story to tell), it’s reminding us of all those companies who supported our journey. We just came across some of these images: Peli Products UK – their ‘rugged, watertight, dustproof, crushproof, buoyant, corrosion-proof‘ cases ensured that our cameras, batteries, laptops, hard-drives, journals, communication devises, etc., didn’t get ruined if they got inadvertently dumped in the river – which is what almost happened on our first day in the water!

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‘The Twins‘ (Ally 811 canoes) into the River Gambia for the first time, Kedougou, Senegal

Even though we had to leave for the expedition, without our big 1690 Peli case of gear – due to the case getting ‘lost’ for almost three months, somewhere between Belgium and Banjul Port – we still had our two rugged  Peli 1520 cases and the Peli head torces – invaluable when trying to find a place to pee in the middle of a moonless night in the African bush!

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And, of course for reading when there is no electricity (which was most of the time) – Helen and her Peli head torch, Kedougou, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Our 1520 Peli Product UK cases also make great seats! Image © jason FlorioSila Kounda, Senegal

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Florio and the 1520 Peli Product UK cases, New Years Eve in Basse, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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The day before last – Florio with our 1520 Peli Product UK cases, Bonto, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

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A sight for sore eyes – the 1690 Peli Product UK case – we thought we would never see you again! The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

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It’s been a long journey back to Gatwick – Feb 2013 – this time weren’t letting that Peli UK 1690 case out of our sight!

I’m sure we’ll come across many more of the great cases in action but, in the meantime, HUGE THANKS to Gill Lack and all at Peli Products UK for their support of the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey

Now…we wade through more images and journal entries for the book – we’ll post a few taster’s here and there, plus we’ll be posting more thanks to the other businesses who helped us along the way. And, we haven’t forgotten all those people who donated in exchange for prints! To you lot, we are eternally thankful.

Respect

The Florios