Welcome onboard – Pehr Karlsson of Organo Gold

We want to welcome Pehr Karlsson of Organo Gold who has jumped on board as a very generous fiscal sponsor. I met Pehr in May in the beautiful Swedish village of Jät while I was shooting a story on Mid-Summer for the New York Times. I needed to file an image for a Newsweek cover – very urgently and did not expect to find even a slow connection in this sleepy farming village. Pehr said I could use the wifi at his farm house – it is to this day the fastest internet connection I have ever used – the huge file needed for the Newsweek cover blasted down the wire in nano-seconds. Pehr saved the day ! Pehr is a distributor for Organo Gold and travels the globe in the process. Organo Gold produces a line health products including coffee, tea and hot chocolate with ‘Ganoderma’ – a fungus that has been tested for potential therapeutic benefits including :

Check out Organo Gold line Pehr’s contact info is there – I am sure he would be happy to hear from you !

Thank you for stopping by – Florio x

Click on image to support our KS page-Deadline 15th Oct. 2012

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!


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

Photo Editor, Stella Kramer’s Interview with Helen Jones-Florio – for Stellazine – about her 2009 Expedition


When we returned to New York, from our ‘Short Walk in The Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey‘, Stella approached me about interviewing me for her blog. She wanted her readers to know how I felt, for example, about travelling as the only woman, with four men and two donkeys – all male.

To quote Stella’s opening:

‘There’s something inherently romantic about an expedition to a foreign country. It’s in doing something new, seeing a world unlike your own and testing your own abilities. For Helen Jones, walking the length of The Gambia was familiar in that she has visited one part of the country many times, but totally new in experience, and what she learned about herself, about traveling with donkeys, and about where home really is.’

Jason Florio's Award-Winning Portraits of Village Chiefs & Elders, The Gambia

Jason Florio’s Award-Winning Portraits of Village Chiefs & Elders, The Gambia – take whilst on a 930km walk around the small West African country.

I loved being interviewed by Stella because, like any smart journalist, she asked challenging questions…questions that really made me have to think about the answers to.

During the interview, I talk in-depth about how we, photographer Jason Florio and I, came up with the idea for the 2009 Gambia expedition (over a couple of beers at a dinner party in Brooklyn!), how we went about it, how we raised funds, and how it was, walking into villages, out in the middle of the West African bush.

Blog entry from 7th November – Kalaji village, The Gambia:
‘In this particular compound, there were around 30 kids who were our chaperones right up until torch lights out in our campsite. Nothing was going to get past these kids. Every little thing seemed to interest them – even if it was just me washing my smalls!! Our team was like a mini theatre to them, in that they brought out chairs and wooden benches and placed them right up close in front of our tents. One woman even brought her embroidery! The villagers are fascinated by everything us two ‘toubabs’ (or ‘toubabo’s’ ) in our group do and that’s quite something to get used to. Not a lot of choice really. Personal space isn’t even in their vocabulary!’

One of the main questions people asked on our return was what did we eat? We were very fortunate to have been there through the harvesting season, just after the rains. So, we ate like kings – munching our way through The Gambia, on peanuts, banana’s, and melon… – ‘Short Walk in The Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey

Gambian Kids

Gambian kids love to play up to the camera – image © Helen Jones-Florio 2009

Stella: What was the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself?

‘That I managed to come out of walking around a small Gambian country for 6 weeks with 4 guys and 2 donkeys – all of them male (imagine all testosterone!) – without pulling my hair out!’

Stella Kramer - Stellazine

About Stella Kramer: ‘I am a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor who works as a consultant to photographers, helping them to strengthen their creative eye, put together the strongest portfolios and websites that reflect their work, and set a course to reach their professional goals… For many years I worked with such top publications as The New York Times, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and People magazine, and won numerous awards as a photo editor’ Stellazine blog

We are now guest bloggers for Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine!

We’re excited to have been invited to be guest bloggers, on Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine - all things Africa and a great way for us to reach a wider audience.

Here’s their introduction, and first posting, from them to the River Gambia 2012 Expedition – featuring Florios award-winning portraits of village chief and elders from our 2009 expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey

Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine-River Gambia Expedition 2012

‘Safari is a hot new travel magazine from the award winning Africa Geographic publishing stable. Safari is all about evocative digital story telling, with rich multi-media content and travel features packed full of videos, sound effects, music and photography. Our team of Africa-trotting travel journos bring you spellbinding stories featuring sunsets over the Serengeti, gorilla trekking in the jungles of Uganda, foodie finds from the souqs of Marrakech, and much much more. If your wanderlust yearns for Africa, feed it with Safari.’

Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine

Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Magazine

The Gambia Experience just donated the 2 x London-Banjul flights – from our ‘Wish List’

Wednesday 13th June

We are having a brilliant day on the donations front. Along with funding from individual sources coming in, we have just received another much needed donation from our Wish List’ - The 2 x London-Banjul, Return flights, from The Gambia Experience This will help bring our target amount down, that we need to raise – hopefully, if we continue to tick off items from our Wish List, we can donate more to the charity we are supporting. More details coming soon on that.

The Gambia Experience are seasoned travel agents for West Africa. And, they supported us massively, pre, during and post-expedition 2009. Not just with flights but also great press and pushing our cause. Therefore, we are more than happy to have them on board again.

Thanks Gambia Experience - especially PR guru, Jenny Adams, and, webmeister, Matt Smith! Find them on Twitter

The Florios (H & Flo)

The Gambia Experience


The Gambia Experience http://www.gambia.co.uk/

The Senegal Experience http://www.senegal.co.uk/

Serenity Holidays http://www.serenity.co.uk/

Jason Florio’s Award-winning Portraits of Village Chiefs and Elders – Limited Edition Prints from the 2009 Expedition Donors

June 13th 2012

The series of portraits that Florio took on our 2009 expedition, of village chiefs/Alkalo’s and elders became an award-winning body of work and featured in Resource Magazine, cover of PDN (Photo District News) etc…

2010 NY Photo Festival, Honorary Mention – fine art/personal series

2010 Lucie’s/International Photography Awards – over all winner ‘People’ category

2010 Lucie’s/ International Photography Awards – 1st place ‘People : ‘Culture’

The portraits were also available for those donors, who donated for limited edition expedition prints in 2009, to make their choices from.

Limited Edition Expedition 2012 Prints: If you make a donation of $100/£65 or over, you will be offered a selection of fine art photography Limited Edition Prints to choose from, from the expedition – how much you donate will determine the size of print you will receive. Please see our ‘How to Donate’ page – the in’s and out’s.

'Silafando' © Jason FlorioL-R: Umbi Salla Touray (Alkalo’s mother) & Kanifana Touray (Alkalo’s sister-in-law)
Balanghar Bental, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009 © Jason Florio

'Silafando' © Jason Florio

Herouan Tonkara, with his horse, Suduwole, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009 © Jason Florio

'Silafando' © Jason FlorioL-R: Lamin Sanneh – Alkalo’s messenger & farmer and Demba Sanneh – farmer, Genieri
The Gambia, West Africa, 2009 © Jason Florio

PDN - Photo District News  - Cover ShotAlkalo Messaneh Cham,The Gambia West Africa

Please see Florio’s website for the series of portraits:

Thanks for jumping on board!

The Florios (H & Flo)

Links: http://resourcemagonline.com/


http://www.pdnonline.com/pdnedu/Business-Smarts-A-L-679.shtml Crowd Funding – including our 2009 expedition



B&H Photo NYC – Interview with Jason Florio – all things photography and our 2009 ‘Short Walk in the Gambian Bush…’

When we returned from our last West Africa expedition ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey http://930kmafricanodyssey.tumblr.com/ Jennifer Diamond, at B&H Photo NYC, https://www.facebook.com/bhphoto interviewed Florio about his 15 year career as a photojournalist. She also asked him about the process behind the portraits that he took, of the village chiefs and elders, whilst on the 930km walk – which resulted in an award-winning body of work ‘Silafando’

Watch the interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OpIeqZzsG4

B&H Photo, NYC - Interview Jason Florio

'A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey' on the road shots - image © Jason Florio, 2009The Short Walk Team are overtaken, and saluted, by Gambian government troops – On-the road-shots © Jason Florio, 2009 http://930kmafricanodyssey.tumblr.com/archive

'A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey' - on the road shotsA Young Gambian boy collects wah grass in the village of Tuba Dabbo – On-the road-shots © Jason Florio, 2009 http://930kmafricanodyssey.tumblr.com/post/2134895806/images-by-florio-on-the-road-shots-the

'A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey' - on the road shots - image © Jason FlorioGambian women waiting for the ferry at Kuntaur Wharf, to cross over the River Gambia. This image was also one the favourite’s for our donators, when they came to choosing their 2009 expedition prints – On-the road-shots © Jason Florio, 2009 http://930kmafricanodyssey.tumblr.com/post/1727339058/jason-florios-b-w-image-kuntaur-wharf-the

'Makasutu - mecca in the forest' - image © Jason Florio‘Kujabi’ – Gambian Farmer – one of the ‘Makasutu’ series of portraits which Florio took whilst we were visiting the circumcision ceremonies in Gambian villages in 2008 http://www.floriophoto.com/#/projects/the%20gambia%20-%20makasutu/4/ Image © Jason Florio, 2008

'Silafando - a gift to you on behalf on my journey' The Gambia, West Africa 2009 - image © Jason Florio Photo District News – PDN – featured one of Florio’s village chief’s – Massaneh Cham – on the cover of their magazine, August 2010 http://www.floriophoto.com/#/projects/the%20gambia%20-%20930km%20african%20odyssey/19/

Jason Florio with Jennifer Diamond, B&H Photo NYCThe Interview: Florio & B&H Photo’s Jennifer Diamond

Florio’s award-winning series of portraits of village chiefs ‘Silafando’ can be seen on his website: http://www.floriophoto.com/#/projects/the%20gambia%20-%20930km%20african%20odyssey/1/