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

 

Until next year, Photoville – thanks for hosting the ‘River Gambia’ exhibition

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Day 8 – ‘action stations, everyone, we’re about to open the gates!’ – the lovely Laura Roumanos, United Photo Industries © Helen Jones-Florio

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Florio gets down to the business of filming our time at Photoville 2013 © Helen Jones-Florio

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The Girl in the Hat photographs The Boy in the Fur Coat – budding photographer and our neighbors daughter, Florie © Helen Jones-Florio 

Sunday 26th September – the last day of Photoville 2013

Big thanks to the supremely efficient Photoville organizers: Laura Roumanos, Sam Barzilay, and Dave Shelly, of United Photo Industries - and all their staff and volunteers – who helped make the photo destination village an immense event, of some phenomenal photography, workshops, and talks. Thanks to these guys, our ‘River Gambia’ journey was viewed by 1000′s of people over two four day weekends. As they trekked in and out of our shipping container, we took them on our epic journey – ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ – images by Jason Florio, curated by yours truly, River Gambia video footage by both of us, and presented by the Virginia Quarterly Review. And, an even bigger thanks to VQR for making the exhibit at PV 2013 possible! Thanks also to Pascal Prince of ‘A Small Light Room‘ for the sublime large format print of ‘Ebrima in Fur‘ – who was there with Mandinka greetings of ‘nimbara, nimbara’, from his vantage point on our container door, to all who passed through.

Last but definitely not least, thanks to every single person who came to view the fruits of our labor:  from the River Gambia’s humble source in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, paddling through the gold bearing lands of Senegal and along the length of The Republic of The Gambia to the Atlantic ocean. We traveled 300km by motorcycle/4×4 and 744km by canoe – creating a photographic and written account along the way, of the tribes and communities whose traditional lifestyle and livelihood depend upon this mighty African waterway.

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‘Malian Fisherwoman‘ River Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio – one of the most popular prints we sold at PV

And for all of those people who purchased Florio’s prints at Photoville, we truly hope you enjoy having a small slice of the enchanting River Gambia in your homes. For anyone who missed out and would like to check out Florio’s fine art photography prints, please visit our on-line galleries – Black and White Collection and Color Collection.

And the day turned into the night…

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 …and the crowds are thinning out. Time to go home… © Jason Florio

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What ‘River Gambia’?! © Jason Florio

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And it’s good night from him and goodnight from her – The Florios are leaving the building – photo courtesy of Kisha Bari

It was great to be part of a community of like-minded people. We hope to see you all again next year.

The Florio’s (H & Flo)

P.S. we’ll be posting a gallery of Photoville images over the coming days, with links to some of the great exhibits at PV 2013 -  keep an eye out!

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‘River Gambia’ at Photoville 2013 was sponsered by the Virginia Quarterly Review

Day 3 : Snapshots from a Photo Destination – the ‘River Gambia’ at Photoville 2013, NYC

Day 3 – Saturday 21st  September : Virginia Quarterly Review presents ‘River Gambia‘ at Photoville 2013, Brooklyn, New York
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Good morning Photoville! Another beautiful blue, blue sky day © helen jones-florio
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Florio “and the hippo’s mouth opened this wide!” © helen jones-florio
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It’s the ‘Moko Jumbies‘ man! Stefan Falke with Florio (and Ebrima in fur) © Helen Jones-florio
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A must see: aCurator‘Small Town Inertia‘ Jim Mortram
Kid interview photocille 20130921_999_78 copyAn aspiring art critic…
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The storm is coming – time to go home…see you tomorrow, folks, for Day 4 of what is sure to be another fantastic turn out at Photoville 2013!
The Florios (H & Flo)
‘River Gambia’ Presented by VQR : images by Jason Florio, curated by Helen Jones-Florio - a 1044km source-sea African odyssey
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Day 1: ‘River Gambia’ opens wide it’s shipping container doors – Snapshots from Photoville 2013, Brooklyn, New York

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Opening time at Photoville – Astrid Verhoef (our Dutch neighbor) from ‘Keep on Dreaming‘ gets ready to welcome the press and public. 

Day 1: ‘River Gambia‘ at Photoville, 2013 – Brooklyn, New York (how to get here)

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First – and very welocme – guests, Andre Washington and his daughter, Aziza

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Exclusive to Photoville, 2013 – ‘River Gambia’ footage © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

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Our lovely friends come along to support: Amber Terranova, Sari Goodfriend, Oskar Landi (we missed you, Lesley Noville!)

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Photoville nightly slideshows – oerlooked by a very impressive Manhattan skyline

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Post 1st day at Photoville – some much needed r ‘n’ r : Oskar (in his element, playing Bocce), Florio (what are you doing with that scarf, Flo?) and Amber (shows the boys how to do it!) at Floyds, Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

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The Gothamist at Photoville 2013 – image © Jason Florio ‘Hawa – rice cutter’ ‘River Gambia

And, thank you so much to Chris Bartlett for taking our portrait yesterday – ‘The King and I’ springs to mind..we are honored, Chris x

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Florio and H – with ‘Ebrima in Fur’ – Photoville 2013, Brooklyn, NY

See you at Photoville!

The Florios (H & Flo)

P.S. come and check out our exclusive-to-Photoville-ONLY ‘Jason Florio’ print offers, from our three West Africa journies: ‘River Gambia‘, ‘Silafando‘, and ‘Makasutu

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.39.21 PMRiver Gambia‘ at Photoville, 2013, presented by VQR

 

Formal portraits of the ‘Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’ 2009 expedition team by Jason Florio

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush team - 2009

The expedition team members from our 2009 journey: A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km Africa odyssey – images 1,3,5 & 5 © Jason Florio image 2 © Helen Jones-Florio

When we returned to Makasutu, in The Gambia, West Africa, from our Short Walk in the Gambian Bush in December 2009, after 6 weeks in the bush, Florio took formal portraits of the expedition team, of course, our four-legged members: Neil and (p)Hadley, the donkeys.

Over those six weeks of walking, camping and eating together, day in and day out, each person on the team’s personality began to present itself – and nick-names were born. However, I have to say, in my own defense, that my ‘nick name’ is actually a term of endearment in The Gambia – hence, not to be taken too literally. However, I guess being a producer, perhaps it was a fitting nick name. Hey, someone had to organise those four guys!

Portraits:

#1- Helen (‘Boss Lady’) Jones – Co-expedition leader and photography producer

#2 – Jason (‘Mappin’ out The Gambia’) Florio – Co-expedition leader and photographer

#3 – Ablie (‘The Negotiator’) Janneh – security, negotiator and Mandinka language teacher

#4 – Samba (‘Silafando’) Leigh – cultural advisor. Silafando is a Mandinka word which translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey

#5 -Momadou (‘Jamtang!’) Bah – chief donkey handler (The Gambian Horse and Donkey Trust). ‘Jamtang’ is a Fula tribe greeting word.

The expedition team with Mr & Mrs Bah, The Gambia

The expedition team (minus Momadou, who took the photo) with the village chief and family of Balanghar Benthal , in between. The Gambia, West Africa 2009. Left: Janneh (‘The Negotiator’) and H (‘Boss Lady’) Right: Florio (‘Mappin’ The Gambia’) & Samba (‘Silafando’)

Once Florio had taken the formal portraits with his background cloth of the chiefs and elders, we’d often have photos of us all taken together with the various village chiefs and their families. And, as always, there would be a gaggle of village kids, vying to get into the frame!

We have hundreds of ‘on-the-road’ shots from the 930km walk we did on our last expedition in The Gambia – you can check some of these in the archives of the ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush‘ blog. And, you can bet that we’ll be taking just as many, if not more, on our next journey too: River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea Africa odyssey

As ever, thanks for stopping by

The Florios

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the expedition:

Formal portraits of the ‘Short Walk’ 2009 expedition team by Jason Florio

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush team - 2009

The expedition team members from our 2009 journey: A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km Africa odyssey – images 1,3,5 & 5 © Jason Florio image 2 © Helen Jones-Florio

When we returned to Makasutu, in The Gambia, West Africa, from our Short Walk in the Gambian Bush in December 2009, after 6 weeks in the bush, Florio took formal portraits of the expedition team, of course, our four-legged members: Neil and (p)Hadley, the donkeys.

Over those six weeks of walking, camping and eating together, day in and day out, each person on the team’s personality began to present itself – and nick-names were born. However, I have to say, in my own defense, that my ‘nick name’ is actually a term of endearment in The Gambia – hence, not to be taken too literally. However, I guess being a producer, perhaps it was a fitting nick name. Hey, someone had to organise those four guys!

Portraits:

#1- Helen (‘Boss Lady’) Jones – Co-expedition leader and photography producer

#2 – Jason (‘Mappin’ out The Gambia’) Florio – Co-expedition leader and photographer

#3 – Ablie (‘The Negotiator’) Janneh – security, negotiator and Mandinka language teacher

#4 – Samba (‘Silafando’) Leigh – cultural advisor. Silafando is a Mandinka word which translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey

#5 -Momadou (‘Jamtang!’) Bah – chief donkey handler (The Gambian Horse and Donkey Trust). ‘Jamtang’ is a Fula tribe greeting word.

The expedition team with Mr & Mrs Bah, The Gambia

The expedition team (minus Momadou, who took the photo) with the village chief and family of Balanghar Benthal , in between. The Gambia, West Africa 2009. Left: Janneh (‘The Negotiator’) and H (‘Boss Lady’) Right: Florio (‘Mappin’ The Gambia’) & Samba (‘Silafando’)

Once Florio had taken the formal portraits with his background cloth of the chiefs and elders, we’d often have photos of us all taken together with the various village chiefs and their families. And, as always, there would be a gaggle of village kids, vying to get into the frame!

We have hundreds of ‘on-the-road’ shots from the 930km walk we did on our last expedition in The Gambia – you can check some of these in the archives of the ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush‘ blog. And, you can bet that we’ll be taking just as many, if not more, on our next journey too: River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea Africa odyssey

As ever, thanks for stopping by

The Florios

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the River Gambia Expedition 2012:

‘You people cannot walk, you only move in cars’ The Independent newspaper- Travel

 'You people cannot walk, you only move in cars' The Independent - Travel

Image © Jason Florio, 2009 – arriving at the lumo (market), The Gambia, West Africa

A little more background on our previous expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’

When we returned from our 930km walk around The Gambia in 2009, Florio was commissioned by The Independent, a British national newspaper, in London, to write an article about our expedition for their travel section: ‘You people cannot walk, you only move in cars’

Boys playing on a boat on the River Gambia, Tendaba, The Gambia, West Africa

Boys playing on a boat on the River Gambia, Tendaba, The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio, 2009

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the River Gambia Expedition 2012:

 

Yellowbrick™ Tracking devices are on board for sponsorship with their ‘YB3′!

We just received confirmation from Yellowbrick™ that they will be sponsoring the River Gambia Expedition 2012 with a YB3 Tracking Device – ‘Yellowbrick3 has been designed to withstand the harshest of environments. And with our heritage in offshore racing, you can be sure that we’re not just saying that…!’

The YB3 will allow us to get GPS co-ordinates and transmit our position back to the blog, ‘from anywhere on earth‘. Ensuring that we have ‘truly global coverage. Absolutely no dead spots.’ Simply put, you can follow us on the whole journey up the River Gambia!

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Yellowbrick3™ Tracking Device

We can even Twitter, send emails and text -wherever we are on our journey. So, there will be no escape from our adventures – we’ll be transmitting our position up to four times a day to where you can follow us on a web based map.

Seriously though, if we get into any sticky situations, we will be able to send an SOS signal, with our co-ordinates.

Therefore, we’re very happy and thankful to be sponsored by Yellowbrick™

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The Florios – Jason & Helen

Please click on the image below to watch Jason Florio as he explains how you can own one of his fine art photography prints, from a series of images he will take whilst on the River Gambia Expedition 2012:

The things we get up to… BBC Radio 4 – ‘Excess Baggage’ – Walking in Madeira, Europe and Gambia

BBC Radio 4 'Excess Baggage' with John McCarthy

BBC Radio 4 ‘Excess Baggage’ with John McCarthy

When we returned from our ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ expedition, we were invited onto John McCarthy’s ‘Excess Baggage’ program on BBC Radio 6

Because we had actually returned to New York by the time we did the show, we went up to the BBC Radio studios, on the Westside, in Manhattan – to pre-record the show – Florio and I were on one end of the phone whilst, presenter and journalist, John McCarthy and his other guests disembodied voices came out the other end, from the BBC studios in London, UK.

Walking in Madeira, Europe and Gambia: ‘the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell about his enthusiasm for hiking in Tasmania and Madeira, glaciologist Richard Sale about long distance walking routes in Europe and to photographer Jason Florio and his partner Helen Jones about travelling all around Gambia on foot’ Producer: Harry Parker

It was fascinating, inspiring, and humbling listening to the others talk about their adventure’s – our 930km seemed very tame compared to our seasoned walker co-guests, and the lengths and places they had walked.

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – Backpacks on and ready to walk – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’


Action Stations – all things production (and dodgy cell phone reception). Setting up the office in the UK

Saturday 16th June, 2012

A week or so ago, we arrived, from our home in New York, to a beautiful, warm, sunny day in London. But, since then, we’ve had rain, rain, a glimpse of the sun and then…well, more rain. Why did we leave New York, and a full blown summer, I ask myself?

However, not one to let the state of the weather deter us – we both grew up here, so we’re well versed in the good old British climate – we get to work: setting up our ‘River Gambia Expedition, 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ production office. This is when it gets really serious – the tension and excitement of planning a project – and our journey truly begins.

The next time you see a shot of the office, we’ll no doubt be surrounded by maps, gadgets, product (being very kindly donated on an almost daily basis), and empty coffee mugs – looking bleary-eyed, too, I’ll wager!

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Production Office.
Florio: “I can’t get a bloody signal!” We get a better reception on our cell phones in Africa then we do in a barn in Surrey! Image © Helen Jones-Florio 2012

We’re now already in full swing…it’ll be no sleep ’til Guinea!

Thanks for dropping by.

More updates soon.

The Florios