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

Meet the press: The River Gambia Expedition story so far

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April 2013: VQR Spring 2013 opening page – Jason Florio’s latest series of images: ‘Life on the River Gambia

Florio and I were just looking back at what we’ve achieved since we got the crazy idea to over-land and then paddle up the River Gambia – from it’s trickling source (see above image, VQR) in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, into Senegal, and then on to The Republic of the Gambia…where, after an eventful 1000km+, we staggered out of our makeshift catarmaran (the Ally Cat), where the mighty river runs into the Atlantic Ocean.

The interest, and support, in our journey has been phenomenal – particularly from the press. Here are just a few of the highlights…and we definitely know there is more to come. However, until articles are published, we have to hold off announcing what is to come. But…we just got news this morning that a highly esteemed publication, which we have been coveting – even since our ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’ 2009 expedition – has agreed to take our recent River Gambia Expedition story. To say that we are thrilled is a slight understatement…this publication takes us into the realms of ‘taken-seriously-as-expeditioners‘! (That’s not to take anything away from all the other publications who have supported us!). Ecstatic/thrilled/joyous/crikey(!) would be more fitting adjectives! Watch this space…

In the meantime, a few of the highlights from the press coverage we’ve had over the last year – including a resurgence of the our 2009 expedition - particularly, Florio’s portraits of village chiefs (Alkalos) and elders: ‘Silafando‘:

Nat Geo Weekend

March 2013: Click on image to go to Nat Geo Radio page – scroll down to listen to Jason Florio and Helen-Jones Florio’s interview with Boyd Matson – March 10, 2013: ‘Going Undercover for Elephant Ivory, Held Hostage by Hippos (that’s us!!), and More’

Outside mag2

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January 2013: Trunk Magazine – broke their own record by printing an unprecedented 18 pages of Jason Florio’s chiefs and elders (‘Silafando‘) from our 2009 expedition (‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’)

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May 2913: And because of the above 18 pages, Trunk Magazine were awarded the SPD silver medal for distinctive achievement in photography in the category of travel, food, and still life for “There and Back Again” Jason Florio‘s portrait series of Gambian chieftains. Trunk also followed up on our River Gambia Expedition with: ‘Gambia and Back

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April 2013: VQR (Virginia Quarterly Review), on our return, published 14 pages of Florio’s new series of images:’Life on the River Gambia‘ in their hard copy journal and on-line. Plus, we got a lovely note from the editor.

 

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November 2013: DPx Gear/Dangerous Magazine – ‘Down the Gambia‘ prior to leaving on the River Gambia Expedition, one of our collaborators, sponsors, instigators, and one of Florio’s assignment buddies (insert Mogadishu; undercover in Burma…kind of buddy), Robert Young Pelton‘s, Dangerous Magazine published an interview, by Will Grant, with Florio.

Dangerous Mag - The follow up

Dangerous Magazine – the follow up- Down the Gambia – image © Jason Florio: kids playing on the banks of the River Gambia, Senegal

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May 2013: Foto Care, NYC, hosted our presentation/slideshow, with Stella Kramer as moderator, to a standing-room-only packed house.

 

 

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June 2013: Tabla Rasa Gallery exhibition – group show ‘Equus’ features two of Jason Florio’s portraits of horses – from both the River Gambia Expedition and A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush

For an update on what’ happening on the River Gambia Expedition front now, please check out ‘Tales from the River Gambia – reflecting on what’s gone by and what is to come…

Thanks to everyone for supporting our madness!

The Florios (H & Flo)

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Mission accomplished! Denton Bridge (and the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean), The Gambia, West Africa. L-R: Helen Jones-Florio, Ebou Jarju, Abdou Ndong and Jason Florio

PRESS: ‘Guinea to Gambia the Hard Way’ – the War Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 3.48.24 PMFriday 3rd May 2013

Thanks to an old friend (and skater dude) of Florio’s, Derek Henry Flood, for featuring our River Gambia Expedition on his ‘The War Diaries’ blog. Check it out here

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‘Hawa’ rice field worker – Kaur, The Gambia © Jason Florio

PRESS: VQR – ‘Life on the River Gambia’ new series of images by Jason Florio from a journey through West Africa

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VQR – ‘Life on the River Gambia’. Images © Jason Florio – the Source of the River Gambia, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conkry, West Africa

We’re very honored to have Florio’s ‘River Gambia’ latest series of images featured in the new edition of the award-winning 88-year-old national journal of literature and discussion, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Spring, 2013 – all fourteen pages of them!

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Female migrants from Guinea Bissau work along the shores of a tributary of River Gambia, in The Gambia, collecting oysters that hang from the mangroves © Jason Florio

Seeing the images in print makes our River Gambia Expedition really come alive – along with reminding us of what we’ve achieved…’did we really go there? Did we really do that?!

‘Found under a rock in the highlands of Guinea, the Gambia emerges as one of the last untamed great rivers of Africa, winding through three countries on it’s way to the sea’ VQR

VQR letter_0503 copyThe images look beautiful – thanks to Jon Parrish Peede, Paul Reyes and all at VQR for the feature.

The Florios (H & Flo)

PRESS: TRUNK Magazine – Postcard – ‘Gambia and Back’

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All images © Jason Florio

Thanks to David Cicconi and all at Trunk magazine for their recent feature on Postcard – ‘Gambia and Back’ about ourRiver Gambia Expedition – 1000km source-sea African odyssey‘. Much appreciated!

Trunk also recently ran 18 pages of Florio’s Gambina chiefs and elders (‘There and Back Again’) from our 2009 expedition – did we mention that we walked 930km around the small West African country?: A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey

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Trunk Magazine – “There and Back Again’ Images © Jason Florio

“There and Back Again” is Trunk’s longest layout yet. Photographer, Jason Florio, has created one of the most stunning portrait pieces we’ve ever seen…this is what you get from 15 years of traveling to a country, learning its customs, and being open with its people…a comfort level that is achieved only through a truly authentic relationship between photographer and subject…18 pages of breathtaking portraits of chieftains (or alkalos) from the numerous Gambian villages that 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…” David Ciconni – Creative Director and Founder TRUNK

 

PRESS: Outside Magazine – ‘Expedition Improv: Traveling the length of the Gambia River’

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Our interview with Joe Spring in Outside mag about the River Gambia Expedition – to read the whole interview click here and to view the gallery, please click here

All images © Jason Florio – for more work, please visit his website

For more River Gambia Expedition press – please visit our ‘Meet the Press’ page

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

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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

#trunkmag ‘How sexy is this! @floriophotoNYC Jason Florio’s Gambian portraits layout coming off press for Trunk F/W ’12 issue’

November/December Press – 2012

Talk about serendipity. Here we are back in The Gambia, about to embark on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’, and Trunk Magazine are featuring Florio’s portraits of Gambian chiefs and elders in their next edition, which he took whilst we were on our last West Africa expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’

We’ll be posting an update shortly about our delayed leaving date for Guinea – and the start of the River Gambia Expedition. Right now, we are being held up by the freight company’s, shipping our gear down here, boat being delayed – by over 2 weeks so far! Anyway…more on that once we have spoken to the shipping company again today.
On a great note, and one word: OBAMA!!

Thanks for stopping by

The Florios (H & Flo)

Floriophoto.com

PRESS: ‘Wings’ Arik Airlines inflight magazine – ‘Inside Treck’ the best pain au chocolate in NYC & West Africa expeditions!

01 Sep 2012

New York’s best pain au chocolat, a Gambian river adventure and Mali jazz – travel industry insiders reveal their favourite things on the planet

Words Hannah Thompson

Ever wonder how some people seem to travel without a fuss, know exactly where’s hot before the rest of the world’s heard of it and collect the kind of rarefied memories the rest of us only dream of? Wings has found the intrepid blogger, hotelier, photographer and tour operator who have made travel their trade and the little-known corners of the globe their office – We’ve asked them for their expert advice on how and where to travel.

Interview with River Gambia Expedition co-leader and photographer, Jason Florio:

Q: Where will the next stamp in your passport be from?

JF: ‘The Gambia. My wife and I are going to make a 1,130km photography expedition following the course of the River Gambia from its source in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, through the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal and back through The Gambia to the Atlantic. rivergambiaexpedition2012.wordpress.com’

To read the full interview, please click here