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

 

PRESS: The New Yorker Photo Booth Magazine features River Gambia ‘Source to Sea’

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.17.22 PMWe are thrilled to be featured in The New Yorker’s Photo Booth Magazine – thanks to Amber Terranova – with our River Gambia Expedition images by Jason Florio.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.30.41 PM Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.24.14 PMWe are currently back in The Gambia, West Africa working on ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘ to young Gambian students. You can check out some of the incredible work the students have been producing by clicking here

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The Florios – Jason and Helen

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Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, Photoville, NY, 2013. Image © Chris Bartlett

PRESS : ONE – join the fight against extreme poverty ‘An Expedition Down the River Gambia’

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The source of the River Gambia, Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio ‘River Gambia’

Communities along its length rely on it for their very existence, and with plans afoot to dam the river, we wanted to create a modern day account of the people who live and work along it’s banks before construction begins and their lives change.” Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio ‘River Gambia Expedition-1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ 

read more on ‘ONE - join the fight against extreme poverty’

ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa… because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut in half and can be virtually eliminated by 2030, but only if we act with urgency now.

Cofounded by Bono and strictly nonpartisan, we raise public awareness and work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs. ONE also works closely with African activists and policymakers as they fight corruption, promote poverty-fighting priorities, monitor the use of aid, and help build civil society and free enterprise‘.

Images taken whilst on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’ with Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio

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Young boys pose for a portrait on the banks of River Gambia in Senegal. They said they had painted their faces like skulls and their chests with soccer team numbers for their own amusement. Image © Jason Florio

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The son of Bakary Dabo, the Alkalo (village chief) of Diagabu Tenda, The Gambia wearing a ‘fur’ coat on a cool morning. Image © Jason Florio

 

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

 

 

Jason Florio – ‘Boy in the Mask’ – cover shot. Geographical Magazine, Dec 2013 issue

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Image © Jason Florio ‘River Gambia’

I can’t begin to tell you how surprised and elated we both were, upon opening our mail boxes yesterday morning, to find that Florio’s portrait of the ‘Boy in the Mask’ got the cover of Geographical Magazine’s December issue – the last portrait that he took when we were almost at the end of our recent ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘. Florio is a ‘Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society’ (FRGS), of which the magazine is affiliated. Since 1830, RGS, has been the ‘home’ of many esteemed, and greatly admired by us, explorers and expeditioners – of which we are mere fledglings (the River Gambia Expedition being only our second foray, delving into that world – our first was in 2009, when we walked 930km around The Gambia, with two donkeys and a cart; as one does). Therefore, it’s an immense honor to have our river expedition recognized by the Society, in this way.

Going with the flow
 – Inspired by stories of European adventurers exploring the great West African rivers, Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio follow the course of the River Gambia, from its source in Guinea to its mouth in its namesake...’ Geographical Magazine

Geographical on-lineThe December issue of the magazine is now in selected stores and available digitally – please check out the website here for more information.

We’ll be posting very shortly about our next West African venture – which includes teaching our first photography workshop in The Gambia.

More on that soon…please feel free to subscribe to the blog to receive our updates

The Florios (Helen & Jason ‘Florio’)

 

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
Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.28.09 AMTransport to Runde Barra – Moto-taxi rider, Senegal West Africa © Jason Florio
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)

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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