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

 

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

Press: ‘A River Runs Through It’ – Arik Airlines ‘Wings’ Magazine – images by Jason Florio

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Photography Jason Florio – Words Jason Florio with Helen Jones-Florio

JF: “In 2009 my wife Helen and I escaped our New York home and took off on a 930km circumnavigation of The Republic of The Gambia by foot, along with three Gambian friends and two donkeys.

Seven days into our 42 day walk, we both decided that this journey would be a warm-up for something bigger. We had no idea at that exact moment what the ‘something bigger’ might be, but as Picasso once said: ‘“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Well, in this case, it was to find us walking…” read the whole article here

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Jason Florio at Bonto Pier, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

Excerpts taken from the forthcoming book about the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey

Shot from the hip-Jason Florio: boy playing with motorcycle tire on the streets of Labé, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea

 

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Boy playing with motor cycle tire on the streets of Labé – Fouta Djallon Highlands © Jason Florio

Taken whilst on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey‘ – blog post: ‘Visit the beautiful Fouta Djallon Highlands …but be sure to take your own chiropractor!

For an update about the journey (as of today) please check out our blog post here

Gold mining village, Senegal, West Africa

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Arrival at another camp site for the night, River Gambia © Jason Florio

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First things first ‘get the (kelly) kettle on Florio!’ © Helen Jones-Florio

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West Africans like their tea too: Attayah tea in the pot, gold mines, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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Chicken for dinner? Gold mining village, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Girls stop and chat. Gold mining village, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Gold miner takes a rest (clutching his nugget in his right hand), Senegal © Jason Florio

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Gold miner and family, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Coffee break – Senegalese style, gold mining village, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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Gold miner shows off his rock, with specks of gold embedded in it, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Another gold miner with his rock, embedded with gold, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Helen makes friends with the gold miner,Senegal © Jason Florio

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Washing the crushed rock granules, looking for gold, Senegal © Jason Florio

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Next morning – getting ready to head out to the gold mines for the day, Senegal © Jason Florio

To see more of Jason Florio’s new series of images from the River Gambia Expedition, please visit his website: floriophoto.com

Photographer, Jason Florio – at work – gold mines, Senegal, West Africa

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Florio at work – Laminia gold mines, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio

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The shot © Jason Florio - Laminia gold mines, Senegal

River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey

floriophoto.com – Latest Work

 

Photographer, Jason Florio – at work – Bambali, The Gambia, West Africa

Bambali fisherman © Jason Florio

A Gambian fisherman comes to check the river condition from the bank of the River Gambia at the village of Bambali, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

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Florio at work: Bambali tenda, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey

A new series of photographs from Jason Florio: ‘River Gambia Expedition -1000km source-sea African odyssey’

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A watchman relaxes on a floating jetty near the small Gambian village of Bonto. Bonto became infamous in 2009 when a two tonne cocaine stash, with a street value of $1bn, was discovered in a riverside warehouse a few hundred meters from the jetty. The street value of the haul far exceeded Gambia’s $782 million annual GDP in 2009. © Jason 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 for their own amusement. © Jason Florio

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Gold mining along the River Gambia as it flows through Southern Senegal draws economic migrants from all over West Africa. The gold bearing sand is filtered and then mixed with mercury to draw the gold out. © Jason Florio

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A migrant worker from Guinea poses with his shovel he uses to excavate sand from the River Gambia in Senegal. The sand will be washed and mixed with mercury to extract gold. © Jason Florio

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Migrant gold miner and his son, on the banks of the River Gambia, Senegal. © Jason Florio

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A Senegalese gold miner appears from the small shaft from where he is extracting gold bearing rocks. His two partners help haul the loaded bucket up to the surface.Mines shafts often collapse and many people are killed each year in their pursuit. © Jason Florio

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A gold mine worker relaxes after a shift at an artisanal mine in Senegal on the banks of the River Gambia. © Jason Florio

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A group of young boys pose for a portrait at an abandoned French owned hunting camp on the banks of River Gambia at the village of Kemoto, The Gambia. © Jason Florio

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Hawa Jallow a member of the Santa Yalla kaffo; a collective of ladies who work together to harvest rice near the River Gambia at Kaur. After cutting the rice she holds her knife in her mouth and uses her head and hands to carry the rice. © 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. © Jason Florio

To see more of Florio’s sublime images from our River Gambia Expedition, please visit his website: floriophoto.com

Thanks, as always, for stopping by

The Florios (H & Flo)

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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L-R:
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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