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

 

Behind the scenes : Jason Florio’s portrait of ‘Samba Fishing’ – the River Gambia, West Africa

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Florio photographs young Gambian, Samba, fishing on the River Gambia, Kuntaur, The Gambia, West Africa, 10th  January 2013 © Helen Jones-Florio

During our time canoeing down the River Gambia, on our exploration of the people whose livelihoods depend on the river, we spent each night wild camping on a different river bank – whether it be camping on a sand bank in the middle of the river (burning a fire all night long to deter the hippos), on rocky outcrops miles from the nearest village, and other times, on the edge of a village, if it was next to the bank.

This particular day, we arrived mid-afternoon into the village of Kuntaur – where we had stayed previously, whilst on our 2009 ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush‘ – which is situated on the banks of the river. We set up our campsite in the grounds of a small riverbank lodge and, as had become the norm, instantly attracting hordes of local kids – shouting and screaming, all vying for our attention, fascinated with our tents and equipment – before the caretaker of the lodge shooed them away – “atchayah! atchayah!” (go away, get lost! A Mandinka word Gambians use to scatter mischievous kids and the scores of scavenging bush dogs alike!).

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Samba comes from school to pull his nets from the River Gambia © Jason Florio

As we were about to settle down for a well-deserved cup of tea , having paddled almost 33km that day – a tough, exhausting 10km of it against the tide – we noticed a young boy, out on the river, in a local pirogue that looked far too big for him to handle on his own. We called him over and he paddled towards us with such ease and dexterity, as if he was steering a small rubber dinghy and not a heavy wooden dug out canoe, carved from a tree trunk.

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Samba fishing © Jason Florio

His name was Samba and he was ‘11 or 12 years old‘ (usually, in this part of the world, only the actual birth date is celebrated, which results in most people not really knowing exactly how old they are). He had come straight from school, to pull in his families fishing nets from the river, to see what catch they had that day. He was also the one who had thrown the nets, on his way to school that morning – as he did every day. He told us that, depending on the size of the catch, he would take a little home to his family and the rest he would take to the equivalent of the local fish monger to sell, to make money for his family and also to buy his school books and other materials, which were essential for him  to study.

We met a number of remarkable people – adults and children alike – on our river journey. Samba will always stick out in our minds…an inspiring little boy, to say the least. In fact, I can think of a couple of our nieces and nephews who think it’s the end of the world if they don’t get the latest upgrade cell phone, who would benefit greatly from spending just one day in Samba’s company!

Thanks, as ever, for stopping by.

More river stories soon.

The Florios (H & Flo)

Jason Florio: ‘River Gambia‘ body of work

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Flo & H © Chris Bartlett

Interview with Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio: ‘River Gambia Expedition’ – Connected by Far

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 11.57.40 AMThanks to our East Africa friend, Yvette Pennacchia, for her recently posted interview, on ‘Connected by Far‘,  with us about the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘. Angry hippo’s, mutiny, and more !

Connected by Far: ‘What possesses a British couple to leave their apartment in New York City and decide to canoe 750km of the 1044km long River Gambia, in West Africa – one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers – in two Ally 811 Norwegian folding canoes, which they fondly named ‘The Twins’, and travel by motorcycles, local taxis, and a ancient, rusty 4×4 Land Cruiser to get to the source of the river and then back (one such ride took 24 hours over the rockiest of roads in the Fouta Djallon Highlands) to pick up their canoes from Kedougou, on the border of Senegal?‘…read more here

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)

Female rice harvesters, Kaur, The Gambia – ‘River Gambia’ mages by Jason Florio

Members of the Santa Yalla kaffo (group) take a moment between harvesting rice from fields irrigated by the River Gambia. They are paid thirty Gambian Dalasis a day (80 US cents). Taken whilst on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea Africa odyssey

Footage from the journey © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio : Youtube

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Click here or on the image to go to Youtube

Photoville, 2013, opens today – Thurs 19th Sept! We have a couple of people to thank for getting Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ images up there

 

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VQR Spring 2013 opening page_72dpiBig thanks to Virginia Quarterly Review for their support in helping us to exhibit Jason Florio’sRiver Gambia’ images at this years Photoville, Brooklyn, NY. Florio has been a contributor of the multi award-winning journal for a number of years – and, he was awarded :

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

We were thrilled when we returned from the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘, and VQR approached us about featuring Florio’s images from the journey – in their Spring 2013 edition – pages upon pages of photographs, bringing our journey back to life, in full color : ‘Life on the River Gambia‘ . If you can make it to Photoville, we will have copies of the VQR Spring 2013 edition, plus more, on sale and VQR will be offering a special deal on subscriptions for the duration of Photoville (19-29th Sept).

Pascal.printScreen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.49.31 AMBig thanks also goes to Pascal Prince of ‘A Small Light Room‘, NYC, for providing us with a large format ‘Ebrima in Fur‘ – just one of Florio’s prints we’ll exhibiting – the little chap (Ebrima, that is) will be at the door of our shipping container, to welcome you, ‘niambara, nimbara!’, into our pop up gallery. Just as he welcomed us to his village of Diagabou. Pascal, former employee of Richard Avedon, has been the master printer, and re-toucher, of our large format prints for many years. Check him out!

We will also have some very special Photoville-only deals on offer – a selection of Florio’s prints from the River Gambia series and more…but, you’ll just have to come on down to check those out. However, we’ll give you a clue as to what we may well have on the table…

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‘Boy in the Mask’ © Jason Florio

Last but definitely not least: Thank you to Photovillers – Laura, Sam, Dave, and all who are making this phenomenal event happen!

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See you at Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, later!  Directions here You can’t miss us – we’re in container number 42 – next to the beer garden! 19-29 September.

The Florios (H & Flo)

NEW PRESS – just in time for Photoville (thanks, Julie Grahame / aCurator!)

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What’s in the bag, Florio? “The River Gambia!” Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013

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Q: ‘What’s in the bag, Florio?’ A: ‘The River Gambia!’. Of course… Image © helen jones-florio

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A Room with a view – ‘River Gambia’ at Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013 © Helen Jones-Florio

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‘River Gambia’ in the house! Photoville, Brooklyn, NY, 2013 © Jason Florio

At last…the day has arrived. We are here, at the Photoville site in Brooklyn, blue, blue skies and a stunning view of Manhattan, across the East River – which will just get better as the light changes. We’re installing Florio’s ‘River Gambia‘ body of work for it’s first exhibition. We’ll also be previewing a short piece of film footage, which we shot whilst on the journey – ‘River Gambia – 1044km source-sea African odyssey

The site is buzzing, with exhibitors from all around the globe – our neighbors are Dutch and Australian – installing their work in the numerous shipping containers, in readiness for tomorrow’s big opening at 4pm. Photoville/United Photo Industries, Laura, Sam, and Dave, who have the unenviable task or organizing the whole shebang – with help from Gilbert, the dog, and a multitude of very helpful volunteers – are doing a sterling job.

We hope you can make it down. Keep an eye out for ‘Ebrima in Fur’, who will be on our’River Gambia’ shipping container door, waiting to welcome you into our little slice of West Africa. As ever, thanks to Virginia Quarterly Review for supporting us at Photoville, 2013.

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The Florios (H & Flo)

NEW PRESS: check out the ‘River Gambia’ on aCurator! Thanks, Julie Grahame!

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Big thanks to aCurator for featuring Jason Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ series – just in time for Photoville, NY, 2013 opening

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Portrait of Bakary Dabo, the Alkalo of Diagabu Tenda © Jason Florio

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L – Alkalo (village chief) of Karantaba preparing his fishing net in the River Gambia.
R – A young boy with a dead fish and net at the village of Karantaba, The Gambia. © Jason Florio

NEW PRESS:  thanks to Julie Grahame / aCurator for featuring Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ images – and for a great edit.

We’ll be exhibiting many of the images featured, and more, from the series at Photoville, Brooklyn, NY – a photo destination and pop-up village‘ opening this week : Thursday 19th – 4-10pm – running until 29th September.

We hope you can make it!

The Florios (H & Flo)

Thanks to Virginia Quarterly Review for their support

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Photoville, NY, 2013 – countdown to opening night and the first exhibition of ‘River Gambia’ images by Jason Florio

 

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UPDATE: Monday 16th September 2013

Thursday 19th September and we will be opening our shipping container doors to the public, at Photoville, to exhibit - for the first time‘River Gambia‘ presented by the Virginia Quarterly Review: images by Jason Florio and curated by Helen Jones-Florio. The fruits of our recent West African journey, in November 2012-January 2013 – ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ – that took us through three countries: over-landing in beat up 4×4′s, up and down mountains on the backs of motorcycles, and dodging pissed-off hippos as we canoed the mighty River Gambia!

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Men from the Fula tribe swim their horses across River Gambia next to a local ferry at the village of Karantaba where the famous Scottish explorer, Mungo Park set off for two of his journeys 200 years ago in search of the Niger river. Image © Jason Florio

We’re also finalizing an edit of an exclusive-to-Photoville footage which we both shot whilst our River Gambia journey. And…we will be offering stupendous deals on a couple of Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints – for the duration of Photoville only. There will be limited stock available. So, first come, first served!

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‘Boy in the Mask’ © Jason Florio – will be available to purchase at a special ‘Photoville only’ price

Again, its with huge thanks to VQR for their support of the ‘River Gambia’ body of work – they ran a lengthy feature in the Spring 2013 edition of the journal.

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Thank you, VQR!!

If you are in New York between the 19-29th September, please stop by and say ‘hello’ to us. There promises to be some phenomenal exhibitions going on, over the two long weekends, along with workshops, talks, screenings…check out the Photoville schedule page. However, to name but a few which we personally can’t wait to see: aCurator presents Jim Mortram’s ‘Small Town Inertia‘ ; Chris Hondros Fund presents ‘Liberia: Remembering‘; PDN presents ‘The Great Outdoors‘; Indie Photobook Library presents ‘A Survey of Documentary Styles in Early 21st Century Photobooks‘…and aCurator panel, presented and moderated by Julie Grahame and Stella KramerPersonal Projects, Long Term Commitment‘; Andy Adams/Flak Photo ‘On-line Photographic Thinking‘; ‘Collecting Photography‘ panel…and, and, and…way too many more to mention!

We’re excited!! You’d be mad to miss Photoville!!

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′