If you don’t have $100+ to exchange for one of Jason Florio’s limited edition prints, $25 could get your name on a banner, photographed and blogged about, from the middle of the River Gambia, West Africa! Read on…

This could be your name/website on the banner.
Jason Florio on the banks of the River Gambia, at Karantaba, The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Helen Jones-Florio, 2009 – taken whilst on ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush’

So, you don’t have $100/£65 + to spare? That’s all good too…because every penny and cent will help us get this River Gambia Expedition 2012 rolling. OK, it won’t get you one of Jason’s prints – as with the ‘An Exchange’ deal, but every single person who donates, even with $25 USD/£16 GBP, will have their name, and/or your company website, linked, added to the blogroll list of thanks and all on our other social media sites (such as Twitter & FB).

PLUS, PLUS, PLUS each and every donor – regardless of whether its $25/£16 or $1500/£970 – will get the following:

Your name, or company name/website, written (in BOLD) on a piece of card, wood, fabric, the canoe paddles, if it comes to it – basically, whatever raw materials we can find when we’re down in West Africa!

One of the expedition team will hold up the banner and a photograph will be taken – whether we are in the Fouta Djallon highlands or paddling through hippo-abundant waters Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, or standing on the historical Kunta Kinteh Island, in The Gambia – said photo will be posted onto the blog, twit-pic’d, Facebooked, Tumblr’d – the lot! (If you prefer not to be social media’ed, that’s all good too – just let us know when you donate).

To find out why we are doing this and why we need your support, please click here and here

Image © Jason Florio 2009. Chief Landing Jammeh – one of the award-winning portraits - ‘Silafando’ - available in ‘An Exchange’ (donations of $100 +) from the 2009 expedition

To support the ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’, please go Paypal to create an account. But, if you already have one, then all you have to do is click on the following Paypal icon:

1. If you aren’t registered for PayPal you need to register an email address and password – it takes 2 minutes. You will then receive an email from PayPal asking you to confirm your account

2. Once logged in – from ‘my account’ page go to ’send money’ tab on the left of the top tool bar

3. Enter ‘who to’ – the expedition email address – : 700miles@floriophoto.com

4. Enter Amount: scroll down for relevant currency

5. Choose ‘personal’ tab then ‘gift’ then ‘continue’

6. Check amount and then press ’send money’ tab

And that’s it! It takes but a few minutes. All additional, or unused, funds raised over our target amount will be donated to our partner charity – please email helen.jones@floriophoto.com for more information on the charity we support.

And, if you do find yourself with $100/£65 + to spare, then check out ‘An Exchange’ to see how you can get one of Jason Florio’s exclusive, limited edition, fine art photography prints from the forthcoming River Gambia Expedition 2012.

Here are just a couple more of Florio’s fine art photography prints from the 2009 expedition ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’

‘Kunta Kinteh Island at Dusk’ (formally James Island), Juffereh, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

‘Children standing on the scared stones at Kerr Batch’ The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

L-R: Alkalo Dam Sallah, Kerr Sait Maram and Alkalo Fatou Dansu, Kabba Kama, Basse, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio – one of the award-winning portraits available in ‘An Exchange’ (donations of $100 +) from the 2009 expedition. ‘Silafando’

Check out Florio, talking all things River Gambia Expedition on YouTube

Please click image to watch the video

A massive thanks to everyone who has supported us so far – with $25 and upwards – you are all helping to make this journey possible and, for that, we are eternally grateful.

Big Love

The Florios (H & Flo)

Travel Plans Update: The River Gambia Expedition 2012 – things are falling into place and our leaving date for West Africa is in sight. At last.

The Florios Travel

Just to keep you all updated on our progress…plans are falling onto place, ‘domading, domading’ (Mandinka for slowly, slowly), for our pending departure down to West Africa – and to begin the River Gambia Expedition 2012 proper. Once down there, our journey will take us to the source of the river (the River Gambia) – with some trekking alongside it to begin with – until a point whereby the river gets wide enough for us to get the canoes in – across borders and through three West African countries: beginning in Guinea, on into the South East of Senegal (and the hippo infested waters of Niokolo Koba National Park – an estimated 6000 of the mammoth mammals!) and, finally, into The Republic of the Gambia (the country derives its name from the river) and onto the Atlantic Ocean and our journey’s end.

The Route Map

We’re working hard on fundraising for the expedition (Jason’s fine art photography prints in ‘an exchange‘ for donations); meeting with ambassadors from the relevant countries; researching (researching and…more researching); sourcing the best in-country guides for the Guinea and Senegal sections; beg, borrowing and stealing equipment ((ok, not the stealing bit – we have some fantastic gear sponsors on boardwe need more though! ); building canoes, twittering / twottering and Facebooking...and, in between all of that, we’re training hard on the river with the one canoe we have so far (we have yet to raise the funds to get the second canoe that we need – hint, hint!).

Florio out runs the swans in the ’811 16.5 Ally′ folding canoe! Lets just hope we can do the same with the hippos on the River Gambia! Image © Helen Jones-Florio

In between all this work, revisiting old West London haunts on the ‘Bella (Portobello Road, to the uninitiated) has been on the agenda. My, how things have changed. However, its good to see some things remain the same…(factoid: back in the day, a young Mr Florio used to work at ‘Slam City Skates’ when they had a shop downstairs at Rough Trade, off Portobello Road)

Image © Helen Jones-Florio, 2012

Phew! Alas, non of the above will abate until we get down on the river, in West Africa – even then, we’ll be trying damn hard, as often as we can, to get a signal to update this blog, and our sponsors and donors. However, we’ll still be making the most of the journey and the inevitable adventures it will bring.

And, importantly, lets hope we can bring back more road stories , river tales, and beautiful images – photos that tell stories – as we did from the our Short Walk expedition.

‘Silafando’ Gambian Chiefs & Elders © Jason Florio, 2009

Boys playing in the River Gambia, Tendaba, The Gambia © Jason Florio, 2009

The Short Walk team – leaving the village of Kalaji at dawn, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio, 2009

For more of Florio’s award-winning portraits, from A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush, please visit his website and for ‘road stories’ and more photographs from the 2009 expedition, please visit the blog

One other thing that we’ve been collecting are stories of hippo’s…and, the more we hear, the more trepidacious we are of encountering these colossal, extremely territorial, unpredictable, hefty mammals, on route – and, from what we’ve been told, there is little doubt that we will come face to face with them.

Hippos – Ngorongoro © Jason Florio

Leaving date? Hmmm…as soon as possible but, in reality, we hope to fly down to West Africa by mid-late September. Firstly, to The Gambia to prep with our Gambian team mates, Abdou and Ebou, for a week or so. Then we’ll drive down to Guinea, to begin our epic journey…more updates on that as and when.

If you’d like to know more about how to support the expedition, in an exchange, for one of Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints, taken from image whilst we are on the River Gambia Expedition, check our Florio talking about this in YouTube:

Please click image to watch the video

Thank you to everyone who has jumped on board to support us so far – gear sponsors and individual donors alike – without whom this journey, basically, wouldn’t happen (unless our trust funds suddenly materialise – yeah right, what trust fund?!).

Please stop by for more updates…coming soon.

The Florios (Helen & Flo)

‘Silafando’ – Fine Art Portraits of Village Chiefs & Elders from The Gambia, West Africa, by Jason Florio

‘Silafando’ – Award-winning Portraits from The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

© Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

© Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

© Jason Florio, The Gambia, West Africa

Silafandoa gift to you on behalf of my journey’ - Award-winning portraits of village chiefs and elders from The Gambia, West Africa. Image © Jason Florio, 2009

If you would like to help Jason Florio to produce his next body of work, from West Africa (this time from: Guinea, Senegal and, The Gambia – ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012-1000km source to sea Africa odyssey’), please check out this link.

Explorers Connect – ‘Adventure Shared: Explorers Connect is on a mission to make adventure more accessible’ – feature the River Gambia Expedition 2012

Explorers Connect ‘Built by adventurers, for adventurers…’

We were extremely flattered to hear from Explorers Connect to say that they wanted to make our River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey ‘Adventurer of the Week’ on their site.

Adventure Shared

Explorers Connect is on a mission to make adventure more accessible

‘Founded by Belinda Kirk who’s worked in the adventure industry most of her life: “I was always being asked by friends how they could join an adventure or work in the industry. It seemed that many wanted more adventure in their lives but didn’t know where to start. There was nothing more satisfying than being able to help others realise their adventurous dreams but I realised that I could only help a few people at a time; what was needed was a central place where adventure seekers and adventure professionals could meet to share advice and opportunities“.’

Explorers Connect features all things adventure and exploration – from Kite Surfing in Mozambique and South Africa; Trekking the Great Himalaya; Paragliding in Tajikistan; Racing in the South Pole; to canoeing and trekking over a 1000km on and alongside the River Gambia! (I guess that’ll be us then)…and it goes on.

You can write an article, ask a question, exchange some kit in the ‘Resource & Kit’ section:

Share your adventure in ‘Adventure News’

And even offer your services as a professional in ‘Find a Professional’ section

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – Expedition Leaders and Photographers

Whether you are an adventurer, explorer, wannabe, or just downright curious about what people get up to, trekking through jungles, hiking up mountains, or dog-sledding across the Arctic Circle, or getting on your bike to cycle solo around Africa…Explorers Connect is the site to check out

We’re looking forward to following some of the astounding journeys. I hope you enjoy following our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

The Florios (H & Flo)

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:

Award-winning Portraits of Gambian Village Chiefs and Elders by Jason Florio from: ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ – the 2009 West Africa expedition

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey

A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey – 2009

Here are just a few examples of Florio’s beautiful, formal, portraits of village chiefs and elders, which he took whilst on our 2009 West Africa expedition – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey‘- using a black backdrop which he has been using for many years – which is actually an old blackout curtain that his grandmother used during the Second World War!

This series of portraits has since become an award-winning body of work, acquired by museums and has been solo exhibited. Florio call’s the series ‘Silafando‘ – a Mandinka word which translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey‘. Silafando is an age old tradition in Gambian culture – when meeting a village chief for the first time and asking to stay in their village, you present him/her with a handful of *kola nuts: a symbolic gift of friendship, and respect for their cultures and traditions.

‘Protocol dictates that the Alkalo has 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 the nuts open and chew them. They are valued for their apparent pharmacological properties – acting as a natural stimulant and, allegedly, as an aphrodisiac.

“This is a very important mark of respect to the Alkalo and we must follow this protocol with every chief we wish to stay with…” Samba says, adamantly “…and once the gift is given, the Alkalo will inform all the villagers that we, the strangers, are to be welcomed, with respect.” He added that if any villagers were to disrespect us during our stay, then ‘shame’ would be brought upon that person and the rest of his family.’ from Helen’s forthcoming book ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – minty abanta!

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

L-R: Salafo Bah - Holy man/Marbout & farmer and Penda Bah (wife of Salafo),

L-R: Salafo Bah – Holy man/Marbout & farmer and Penda Bah (wife of Salafo), Tuba Dabbo, The Gambia, West Africa – Image ©Jason Florio 2009

L-R: Samba Bah - cattle farmer & Yero Bah - cattle farmer, Tuba Dabbo The Gambia, West Africa

L-R: Samba Bah – cattle farmer & Yero Bah – cattle farmer, Tuba Dabbo
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:

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:

Hagedorn Gallery, Atlanta, GA – Press Release about Jason Florio’s recent awards for his Gambia portraits

Hagedorn Gallary + Jason Florio Portraits

In 2011, the Hagedorn Gallery, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, exhibited Florio’s Makasutu‘ and ‘Silafando‘ portraits from The Gambia, West Africa. So, they were very happy to advertise the fact that portraits from both bodies of work have just received more awards: Black & White Spider Awards – ‘Honor of Distinction‘, 2012 & Px3 (Prix de la Photographie, Paris), 2012, ‘Portraiture/Culture‘ respectively.

Purely coincidentally, Abdou Ndong (who is the man in the portrait with the rescued crocodile) is an old friend and also one of our River Gambia 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’ team mates. His expertise as a river man and translator (he speaks three or four of the local West African language’s we will encounter on the journey) will be invaluable.

Flo & Abdou Makasutu

Abdou & Florio (with one of Abdou’s donkeys) – Makasutu Culture Forest, The Gambia, West Africa, 2009. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

Above: Abdou and Florio. Abdou had come with a load of groundnut hay for our donkeys, just before we set off on what would become a 930km walk, in 2009. We had – on loan – two very willful, and precocious, donkeys by the names of ‘Paddy’ & ‘Neil’ (a little into the journey, Paddy was swapped over for an older – even more quick-witted! – donkey called Hadley) for ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey. They came fromThe Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust’, who do fantastic work down in West Africa, rehabilitating horses and donkeys.

Thanks to Hagedorn for sharing the news about the awards and huge respect to Alexandra LaFaou and Gordon Watkinson (an extremely talented photographer in his own right) at Foto + Synthesis – who run a traveling exhibition service that works closely with museums, photographers, curators and collectors – for getting the exhibition on in the first place.

And, of course, congrats to Mr Florio!!

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:

Florio’s portraits of Gambian chiefs and elders win another award – ‘Px3′, 2012

Px3 – Prix de la Photographie, 2012 - Winner-Silver Medal: Professional Portraiture – Culture category

Congratulations to Florio – he has just won yet another award from Px3 (his 3rd with them!) for his portrait’s of Gambian chiefs and elders, which he took whilst we were on our last expedition ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ in 2009, in The Gambia, West Africa. To see more about his awards and exhibitions etc., please visit his website Bio section.

Px3 Paris - winner Jason Florio 2012

Px3 2012 Paris – Winner ‘Professional Portraiture/Culture Category – Jason Florio’s images of chiefs and elders made while on a 930km expedition by foot of The Gambia, West Africa.
‘Silafando’ is a gift made by a traveler to a village chief as thanks for his hospitality and protection for the night.

He may do something similar on the River Gambia Expedition 2012 but, like all best laid plans, that idea could change once we get on the ground and see what else catches his eye and imagination. We’ll be on the River Gambia, through Guinea, Senegal and finally into The Gambia (1000km +), for as much of the route as possible so it will be fascinating to see what we come across to photograph and write about.

Alkalo Messaneh Cham, Chamen Sosseh, The Gambia

Alkalo (chief) Messaneh Cham, Chamen Sosseh, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Alkalo (the chief), Massaneh Cham, was a grand old man, who had on flowing white robes, a red and white skullcap, sporting a white beard and gold-rimmed, aviator-style shades – a very stylish gentleman indeed. Mr Cham is one of my favourite portraits of all the chief’s Florio had sit for him. And, I love the chicken lolloping past in the background too.

An exert from Helen’s forthcoming book – a woman’s perspective on their 930km walk around The Gambia, West Africa:

Wednesday 9th December, 2009 – Chamen Sosseh village. Distance walked to-date: 827.55km

‘Once Flo presents the silafando, and the chief kindly agrees to sit for a portrait, we prepare the backdrop. The old chief is a little unsteady on his legs so we find a wooden bench for him to sit on. I scan around the compound and see a pure white goatskin, stretched over a branch, on a nearby tree. That will go perfectly with the chief’s outfit, I think, draped over the bench he’s sitting on. I ask one of the young village boys, who is helping us to go and ask the chief’s wife if we can use the goatskin. He calls out a name, and from inside a nearby hut, an elderly woman comes out and walks towards us. The boy asks her, in Mandinka, about the skin and she nods and goes to fetch it…’ More news on the book…coming soon.

And, of course, more updates on our forthcoming journey will be posted on a regular basis.

Thanks for jumping on board!

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:

Florio photographs the village chief – the Alkalo – of Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa

Lamin Jammeh - village chief of Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

Portrait of Lamin Jammeh – village chief of Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa – award-winning image © Jason Florio

On our last expedition in 2009, ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’, when we walked completely around the small West African country of The Gambia, an important part of our journey was to document the people who we met along the way. We did this through photography and writing a blog

It wasn’t until we got on the ground, in Gambia, and talked with two of our local Gambian expedition team mates, Janneh and Samba, that we came up the idea of Florio photographing the village chiefs – known locally as Alkalos. But, in order to do this, we had to follow local protocol. There is a longstanding, inspiring, tradition in The Gambia called ‘Silafando’ – a Mandinka word which translates as ‘a gift to you on behalf of my journey’. It meant that whenever we entered a village, the first thing we would have to do was to introduce ourselves to the chief and then offer the ‘Silafando’ – a gift of kola nuts. This a great sign of respect to the chief, his elders and the Gambian culture. Once the chief accepted the ‘Silafando’ it signified that we were welcomed and allowed to camp in the village – either in the chief’s compound, if it was spacious enough, or somewhere else, preferably in a shady spot (beneath a the large leafy neem tree, for example). It also meant that we were in the village as guests of the chief – under his protection – and traditionally, in turn, the villagers treat any travelers with respect; as we respected them too.

The team camp under the trees in Khalaji village, The Gambia

The ‘Short Walk’ team camp in the shade of the trees in Khalaji village, The Gambia, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio

I’d sometimes film some of the photo shoots – ‘Wobbly Productions’ (for obvious reasons!). Here is a link to Youtube and Florio photographing Lamin Jammeh - the village chief of Khalaji. See how many kids there are? This was indicative of almost all of the villages we stayed in…we’d be constantly surrounded, and every move watched, by dozens of curious, boisterous, vociferous children!

After the shoot, chief Lamin Jammeh got down to the business of sweeping the ground, around our camp site, with us – his ever-present cigarette dangling from his mouth – to make sure that we “the toubabs are comfortable in their home for the night”. How cool is he.

The chief, Lamin Jammeh, cleans up! Khalajo village, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

On our next journey, the River Gambia Expedition, 2012, we hope to make a similar project, collecting – through multiple medias: visual/written/audio – stories documenting the lives and cultures of the indigenous people, who live and work along the course of the course of the River Gambia.- one of Africa’s last free-flowing, major rivers Starting in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea, on into hippo-abundant Niokolo Koba National Park, Senegal, and finally into The Republic of the Gambia – following the same course as the early gold and slave traders had done century’s ago – to the 10km wide mouth of the river, where it opens into the Atlantic Ocean, after over a 1000km journey.

*Jump on board and enjoy the journey with us.

As always, thanks for stopping by

The Florios

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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: