– ‘Boat as Subject: Sebastião Salgado, Jason Florio, and More…’

horses river

‘Swimming Horse’ crossing the River Gambia, Karantaba, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2013

We’re honored to have Jason Florio’s fine art prints – images from both of our West Africa journeys – currently featured on Tonkara with his Horse‘ from A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey‘ (2009) and ‘Swimming Horses‘ from the ‘River Gambia Expedition-1000km source-sea African odyssey‘ (2013)

'Herouna with his horse' The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

‘Herouna Tonkara with his horse’ The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

For an update on what’s happening in the Florio camp, please visit this link

Podcast: Photographer, Jason Florio – and River Gambia Expedition co-leader – talks to the One Hour Photo Show

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Podcast: Jason Florio on the One Hour Photo Show – click on image or here to listen

Florio talks to Anderson Smith and Jillian Hayes on the One Hour Photo Show, about the River Gambia Expedition – photography, planning and hippos!

More press and news about the journey: Meet the Press

PRESS: Chatterblog-thanks Louisa Jane Curtis for the ‘welcome back!’

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Chatterblog – Louisa Jane Curtis – click here to go to website

Awards: VQR ‘Prize for Photography’ Jason Florio for three pieces – from Somalia and Burma

VQR-photography award 2013

click on image to view page

Congratulation! Jason Florio – photographer and River Gambia Expedition co-leader – recently awarded VQR Prize for Photography (Virginia Quarterly Review), for his work from Somalia and Burma, last year.

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The Black Zone‘ – Words: Robert Young Pelton. Photos: Jason Florio for VQR

New Press: Jason Florio’s ‘Makasutu’ portrait used for The Australian National Opera Company’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘Otello’

A PR company, Chard International, representing the Australian National Opera, contacted us a few months back to ask if they could use one of Florio’s Makasutu portraits – from a series he had taken over a 12 year period when in The Gambia – to advertise the opera ‘Otello’. They ended up choosing the portrait of the ‘Oyster Man’

Remembering James – 1939-Sept 28th, 2011- An inspiration and co-founder of Makasutu Culture Forest, The Gambia, West Africa

James English & 'Beth' - Mandina Balong, The Gambia, West Africa - image © Jason Florio

James & ‘Beth’, taking a bath – Mandina Balong, Makasutu Culture Forest, The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio

The ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ is dedicated to the memory of a great friend, inspirator, poet and global traveller: James English 1939-2011

Makasutu Culture Forest

We’ll raise a glass (or three) to you, today, James. You will always be missed.

Out thoughts go out to Lawrence and to James’ family.


(Peter) James English – 1939-2011

With Love

Helen & Jason xxx



‘What’s in the bag, Jason Florio?’ The first person to guess correctly and promise a Kickstarter pledge for…

…$50.00, instead of the ‘reward’ pledge of $100.00 for a 8×10″, will get a limited edition, signed, fine art photography print – which usually retails at $175.00 in the gallery – from multi award-winning photographer, Jason Florio. If you can guess ‘what’s in the bag?’

‘What’s in the bag, Florio?’ – Image © Helen Jones-Florio

A specific, and rather big clue, can be found in the previous post, here on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ blog. Hint hint…it’s something that’s made in Norway and that we need paddles for!

The first person to get the answer right, and who promises to make a pledge of $50.00 on Kickstarter, will get to choose their 8×10″ print from a series of exclusive images, taken by Florio on the forthcoming River Gambia Expedition or from his on-line fine art gallery – from the B&W and Colour Collection.

‘Sardhu Walking in the Holy City of Pushkar’ India. Image © Jason Florio – From the Colour Collection Gallery

Check out our Kickstarter campaign to see what other ‘rewards’ are available – just in case you decide you would like to pledge more for your 8×10″ ;)

17 days to go!! Please click on the image to view details

The winner/Kickstarter pledger will also get a BIG shout out here on the blog, our FB page, Tumblr and Twitterplus your name/website URL on a banner, photo taken whilst we are on the expedition in West Africa, which we’ll then broadcast to all of the above social media sites (if you don’t mind? It’s cool too, if you’d prefer us not to)

Answer the question – ‘What’s in the bag Jason Florio?’ and promise to pledge $50.00 – and this could be your name on the banner, in West Africa!

Answers please on our FB page (which you have to ‘like’ first – if you haven’t already!) – and be quick if you want that 8×10″ for fifty bucks!!

Good luck!

The Florios (Helen & Florio)

P.S. Check out Mr Florio on Vimeo – talking all things River Gambia Expedition

Please click on image to view

Our 1st canoe is assembled! The ’811 16.5′ Ally Folding Canoe’ by Bergans of Norway – as modelled by Jason Florio

© Helen Jones-Florio Image © Helen Jones-Florio – Florio models the Ally Canoe beautifully!!

UPDATE: Sept 27 – We now have paddles and trucks (for portaging the canoes) from System X, Wokingham Surrey, UK. Thanks for the support, Helen & the crew!!

We did it!! A first for both of us – assembling our very own canoe! Now we just need to raise enough to get the second one (for our Gambian team mates)! Please check out out Kickstarter campaign here + rewards for donors!! Deadline 15th Oct 2012 – Pledges start at just $10.00! Rewards: Jason Florio – our very own in-house award-winning photographer and River Gambia Expedition 2012 co-leader – fine art prints from our River Gambia Expedition 2012 or from Jason’s online gallery of B&W and Colour Collections.

Video footage of canoe building coming very soon…

Thanks to everyone for their support…amazing stuff!!

H & Flo (The Florios)

17 days to go!! Please click on the image to view details

2009 West Africa Expedition -Youtube: Jason Florio photographs Gambian village chiefs, The Gambia

Jason Florio Photographs Gambian Village Chiefs, The Gambia, West Africa 2009 – from ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’click image to view. Filmed by Helen Jones-Florio for ‘Wobbly Productions’ (and mucky lens’!)

From our 2009 expedition A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’, we shot this footage when we stayed with Alkalo (village chief) Landing Jammeh of Khalaji village – who can be seen in the video (tall man, wearing a blue and white grand bubu – and pictured below) kindly ‘assisting’ Florio whilst he made a portrait of the neighbouring Alkalo, Julu Sanyang.

‘Silafando’ – portraits of village chiefs and elders © Jason Florio L-R: Landing Jammeh & Julu Sanyang, The Gambia, West Africa

The photo shoot resulted in what became an award-winning body of work for Florio – called ‘Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey’ : the traditional method of greeting village chiefs and elders, when you meet them and ask something from them (in our case, to ask permission to camp in their villages and for Florio to make the portraits). We found out about this cultural tradition from one of our team mates, Samba Leigh, when we arrived in The Gambia, to prep for the walk.

Excerpt from Helen Jones-Florio’s forthcoming book ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - minty abanta!’:

‘Nevertheless, and more importantly as it turned out, Samba introduced us to the traditional intricacies of ‘Silafando’. The age-old tradition was something that we were not aware of and perhaps would never have been, but for Samba’s cultural knowledge on local protocol and tradition. “We need to plan our route so that we arrive in a village at the end of each day of walking” he told us “then we have to ask the permission of the Alkalo (the village chief) if we can set up our camp in his compound or in the village”. Protocol dictates that the Alkalo has a duty to welcome travelers and strangers, but only after the correct procedure is followed. This is what is known as ‘Silafando’ – which roughly translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey’ and involves presenting the village chief with a gift – traditionally, a handful of kola nuts; bitter, walnut sized nuts. These nuts play an important roll in Gambian traditional culture and social life. Once the gift is given, the Alkalo shares them with his closest village elders. They break open the nuts and chew them. They are valued for their apparent pharmacological properties – acting as a natural stimulant and, allegedly, as an aphrodisiac.’

‘Silafando’ – giving of Kola Nuts © Jason Florio

To find out how you can get involved in ‘An Exchange’ - and get one of Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints, please check the photographer (and River Gambia Expedition 2012 co-leader) himself on Youtube:

Please click on image to view

More updates, photos and stories coming soon…

The Florios (Helen & Flo)