PRESS: AfriTorial – ‘Where on god’s green earth is Makasutu?’

We just happened across this article, on a website called ‘AfriTorial’ (worth checking out, by the way) – Jason Florio’s award-winning ‘Makasutu – mecca in the forest series of large format series of B&W portraits, which he took over 12 years of travelling to The Gambia, West Africa

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A group of young Gambian boys gather on the banks of the River Gambia to bathe at the end of a male circumcision (‘coming of age’) ceremony Kombo Central, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

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Ismaila Denba – young Gambian boat captain blowing cigarette smoke from his nose
Ensa – young Gambian, guide, holding cow head (slaughtered for ‘coming of age’ celebrations)
Myork village, The Gambia, West Africa
Ensa: In the permanent collection of The Haggerty Museum of Art (Marquette University, Milwaukee, USA) © Jason Florio

You can see the whole series on Florio’s website: ‘Makasutu – meccas in the forest’

and there’s the book: ‘Makasutu-mecca in the forest’

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PRESS: Trunk Magazine – ‘Gambia’ – “Trunk’s longest layout yet. 18 pages of breathtaking portraits” by Jason Florio”


Whilst we were on the River Gambia Expedition, New York based, Trunk Magazine ran Florio’s portraits of village chiefs and elders, which he took on our 2009 expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey’. The spread, in the hard copy, is 18 pages of Florio’s beautiful, colourful, portraits and, because they didn’t have enough physical space, they also ran it on line so that they could show more of the images!

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“There and Back Again” is Trunk’s longest layout yet. 18 pages of breathtaking portraits of chieftains (or alkalos) from the numerous Gambian villages that photographer Jason Florio visited on his circumnavigation (by foot!) of the country. We would’ve run the article even longer, but needed to fit all of our must-read stories into the issue…” Trunk Magazine

It’s really wonderful to see Florio’s striking the portraits from our long walk around The Gambia continuing to appear – over three years later. Lets hope the new work, from the River Gambia Expedition has the same impact. Florio is working on his edit right now…so, please keep watching this space.

A BIG thanks to David Ciccone, Creative Director, and all at Trunk for the feature – and the support!

Jason (‘Florio’) and Helen

P.S. you can check out more press/awards here

Dawn to Dusk – the splendor of West African skies

Dusk over the River Gambia, Tendaba, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Just one of the many things that we love about being down in West Africa is the sky…especially the dawn and dusk skies. Stupefyingly brilliant, incomparable, sunrises and sunsets – and we aren’t talking light pollution here (due to their being very little electricity supply, if any, in most places). This is natural beauty, in its truest form.

It’s not just the spectacular colours……… it’s also the real sense of peace, an inner stillness, that one feels when walking along at dawn with the sounds of the bush waking up around you – a sound which reaches a crescendo as the sun rises higher through the dawn sky. And, despite the cacophony of chitter, chattering birds, monkeys, farting goats and donkeys (yes, really) – and whatever else is out there in the bush that you can’t see and/or really don’t want to see – there is still that over-riding sense of all being well with the world.

Here are just a smattering – of many – images from various visits down to The Gambia. We can’t wait to get back there…to stare, transfixed in wonderment, at these skies again.

Ever the photographer: Florio surveys the beauty – crossing the river at Kalaji, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

That sense of peace – H on the road at dawn, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Helen – dusk over Mandina Balong, Makasutu, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Kunta Kinteh Island (James Island), Juffereh, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Florio leaving Kunta Kinteh Island (James Island), Juffereh, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

H and the ‘Short Walk’ expedition team cross the river at Kalaji, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

If you would like to see more images from The Gambia, please visit our other blog – ‘A Short walk in the Gambian Bush - 930m African odyssey’ or check out ‘Expedition Africa

Florio, a multi-award-winning photographer, will no doubt be producing some stunning work whilst we are on the forthcoming River Gambia Expedition (we are hoping to leave for West Africa in a few short weeks – at last!). If you would like to get involved in ‘An Exchange’ - donations for Jason Florio’s limited edition fine art photography prints, taken whilst we are in Guinea, Senegal and The Gambia, please check out this link, or watch Florio tell all about it, here on YouTube

Please click image to watch the video

Here’s just one of many images, which were available, as prints, to those people who supported ‘An Exchange’ on out last expedition in 2009 – A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey, when Florio produced an award-winning body of work: portraits of Gambian village chiefs and elders (which were also available to our donors, to choose their favourite print from)

James Island at dusk, Juffereh, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

We hope you enjoy following the journey with us – we’ll be updating regularly with road stories and images galore.

More soon!

The Florios

‘Makasutu’ large format B&W Portraits from The Gambia, West Africa, by Jason Florio

‘Makasutu’ Fine Art Photography by Jason Florio

‘Makasutu’ Fine Art Photography by Jason Florio

‘Makasutu’ Fine Art Photography by Jason Florio

‘Makasutu – mecca in the Forest’ © Jason Florio – black and white, large format, portraits taken over a 12 year period of the people who live and work around a sacred forest, Makasutu, in The Gambia, West Africa.

Fine art photography prints – available to purchase here from the B&W Collection

To see how you can get a fine art print from the River Gambia Expedition 2012 – please watch Jason Florio explain all on Vimeo (click on image to view):