Until next year, Photoville – thanks for hosting the ‘River Gambia’ exhibition

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Day 8 – ‘action stations, everyone, we’re about to open the gates!’ – the lovely Laura Roumanos, United Photo Industries © Helen Jones-Florio

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Florio gets down to the business of filming our time at Photoville 2013 © Helen Jones-Florio

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The Girl in the Hat photographs The Boy in the Fur Coat – budding photographer and our neighbors daughter, Florie © Helen Jones-Florio 

Sunday 26th September – the last day of Photoville 2013

Big thanks to the supremely efficient Photoville organizers: Laura Roumanos, Sam Barzilay, and Dave Shelly, of United Photo Industries - and all their staff and volunteers – who helped make the photo destination village an immense event, of some phenomenal photography, workshops, and talks. Thanks to these guys, our ‘River Gambia’ journey was viewed by 1000′s of people over two four day weekends. As they trekked in and out of our shipping container, we took them on our epic journey – ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ – images by Jason Florio, curated by yours truly, River Gambia video footage by both of us, and presented by the Virginia Quarterly Review. And, an even bigger thanks to VQR for making the exhibit at PV 2013 possible! Thanks also to Pascal Prince of ‘A Small Light Room‘ for the sublime large format print of ‘Ebrima in Fur‘ – who was there with Mandinka greetings of ‘nimbara, nimbara’, from his vantage point on our container door, to all who passed through.

Last but definitely not least, thanks to every single person who came to view the fruits of our labor:  from the River Gambia’s humble source in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, paddling through the gold bearing lands of Senegal and along the length of The Republic of The Gambia to the Atlantic ocean. We traveled 300km by motorcycle/4×4 and 744km by canoe – creating a photographic and written account along the way, of the tribes and communities whose traditional lifestyle and livelihood depend upon this mighty African waterway.

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‘Malian Fisherwoman‘ River Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio – one of the most popular prints we sold at PV

And for all of those people who purchased Florio’s prints at Photoville, we truly hope you enjoy having a small slice of the enchanting River Gambia in your homes. For anyone who missed out and would like to check out Florio’s fine art photography prints, please visit our on-line galleries – Black and White Collection and Color Collection.

And the day turned into the night…


 …and the crowds are thinning out. Time to go home… © Jason Florio


What ‘River Gambia’?! © Jason Florio


And it’s good night from him and goodnight from her – The Florios are leaving the building – photo courtesy of Kisha Bari

It was great to be part of a community of like-minded people. We hope to see you all again next year.

The Florio’s (H & Flo)

P.S. we’ll be posting a gallery of Photoville images over the coming days, with links to some of the great exhibits at PV 2013 -  keep an eye out!

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‘River Gambia’ at Photoville 2013 was sponsered by the Virginia Quarterly Review

Day 1: ‘River Gambia’ opens wide it’s shipping container doors – Snapshots from Photoville 2013, Brooklyn, New York

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Opening time at Photoville – Astrid Verhoef (our Dutch neighbor) from ‘Keep on Dreaming‘ gets ready to welcome the press and public. 

Day 1: ‘River Gambia‘ at Photoville, 2013 – Brooklyn, New York (how to get here)

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First – and very welocme – guests, Andre Washington and his daughter, Aziza

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Exclusive to Photoville, 2013 – ‘River Gambia’ footage © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

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Our lovely friends come along to support: Amber Terranova, Sari Goodfriend, Oskar Landi (we missed you, Lesley Noville!)

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Photoville nightly slideshows – oerlooked by a very impressive Manhattan skyline

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Post 1st day at Photoville – some much needed r ‘n’ r : Oskar (in his element, playing Bocce), Florio (what are you doing with that scarf, Flo?) and Amber (shows the boys how to do it!) at Floyds, Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

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The Gothamist at Photoville 2013 – image © Jason Florio ‘Hawa – rice cutter’ ‘River Gambia

And, thank you so much to Chris Bartlett for taking our portrait yesterday – ‘The King and I’ springs to mind..we are honored, Chris x

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Florio and H – with ‘Ebrima in Fur’ – Photoville 2013, Brooklyn, NY

See you at Photoville!

The Florios (H & Flo)

P.S. come and check out our exclusive-to-Photoville-ONLY ‘Jason Florio’ print offers, from our three West Africa journies: ‘River Gambia‘, ‘Silafando‘, and ‘Makasutu

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.39.21 PMRiver Gambia‘ at Photoville, 2013, presented by VQR


Youtube and Vimeo – River Gambia Expedition, West Africa and more



We’ve put all of our Vimeo and Youtube footage on one page. All things photography, West Africa, photojournalism, travel, expeditions, canoeing, and more!



Nuun active hydration products – in the River Gambia house!

Our Nuun products have arrived! Image © Helen Jones-Florio

‘You’re Always Active, Your Water Should be Too

Nuun is leading the way in portable hydration with three drink options to keep you refreshed all day, everyday. All three are ideal to help keep you hydrated and to make the most of the water you drink’ – Nuun

Big thanks to Sarah and all at Nuun for the package of hydration tablets and water bottles. We’re now stocked up with sugar-free, electrolyte-enhanced, tabs – in 3 tasty flovours: tri-berry, lemon & lime and lime tea – which will help to keep all the team hydrated throughout our River Gambia Expedition, whether we’re trekking in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea or canoeing up the River Gambia

Image © Nuun

Thanks again to Nuun, for their support for the River Gambia Expedition.

More photo’s from ‘on-the-ground’ very soon…we fly down to The Gambia next week (16th Oct)!

Stayed tuned!

The Florios (H & Florio)

Jason Florio talks about the River Gambia Expedition and his fine art photography prints. Please click on image to view

Winners of the ‘Print Draw’ for Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints

Jason Florio and Helen Jones-Florio announce the winners of the ‘Print Draw’. Please click on the above image to view the video

Well done to the winner of the ‘Print Draw’ – New York photographer, Michel Delsol! He will receive one of Jason Florio’s 16″x20″ fine art print from the series of eight on offer for the ‘Print Draw’ – plus a bonus 8″x10″ print from the River Gambia Expedition 2012.

And, well done to the runners up – Michael and Linda Nevins, Ballynahinch, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. They will also receive an 8″x10″ River Gambia Expedition 2012 print.

Thank you to everyone who entered into the spirit of the competition. Your support is helping to make this expedition possible.

For those who would like one of Jason Florio’s fine art prints from the forthcoming expedition, we are still running ‘An Exchange’ – donations of $100/£65, and over, will secure you a print. And, the more you donate, the bigger the print. Please click here to find out more.

Here is one of Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints available to our donors from the 2009 expedition ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’

Kuntaur Wharf, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

Thanks again to all who entered the ‘Print Draw’

Big love and respect

Jason & Helen – The Florios

Outside Magazine: ‘What will be the toughest part (of the River Gambia Expedition)?’ A clue: ‘one of the most dangerous animals in Africa’!

‘Abdou with Rescued Croc’ Makasutu, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio


Outside Magazine – Adventure Lab: What will be the toughest part?

Jason Florio: ‘There is a 200km (124 mile) section through the Niokolo Koba, a 9,130 square km (3,525 square mile) national park in Southern Senegal, that will be the most remote and the most hippo-infested part of our journey. (There are an estimated 6,000 hippos in this small section of the park.) Back in the 1970s, UNESCO removed all the villages from the park, with the aim to protect it. But the consensus is that this has led to its demise. With just a few park rangers to protect the animals, the place is now rife with poachers. So, we’ll have to take an armed guard with us on that part of the river. There is a slight irony to this as the park is known for its array of potentially dangerous wildlife—elephants, lions, leopards, baboons, hippos, and crocodiles—yet we need a man with an AK-47 to protect us against humans.’ To read the full interview, please click here


Lake Baringo,Kenya, East Africa. Image © Jason Florio for AFAR Magazine

We’ve had information, tips, pointers, what-not-to-do’s coming in, over the last weeks, from various sources – people who have had direct experience with hippo’s:

Philip Harwood: ‘Canoeing the Congo’ left us a message the other day, via Explorers Connect with his experience on dealing with hippos: “Hippos … All the obvious stuff. The locals on the Congo always just stopped, and waited till the hippos moved. If they didn’t move, they slowly move around. Selecting campsites is always a big thing, the less cover the better, that way you wont surprise them. Rocky areas are also good to camp, hippos don’t do well on rocks. Stopping for a pee or poo I found dodgy, cos i often found myself surrounded by hippo prints as I squatted! Have a great trip, and if you dont get eaten by a hippo, let me know how you get on”

Thanks Philip – particularly on the loo issues!!


In a recent interview with Matt Smith for The Gambia Blog, the question that is always prevalent in our thoughts was asked:

The Gambia Blog: And lastly, what do you intend to do about all those hippos?!

Helen Jones-Florio: ‘Slap the canoe paddles – as rapidly and as hard as possible – on the surface of the water, whenever we you see a hippo fully submerging!’ paraphrasing Richard Grant, adventurer and author of ‘Crazy River’, who I went to hear his reading of said book in New York a couple of months back. Apparently, the vibrations scare them away. Who knew. I keep (half) joking with Florio “can’t we just attach mechanical paddles to the canoes which, at the flick of a switch, beat the bloody water hard and fast?!! Either that, or have an outboard engine attached for a quick smart getaway!”


Africa Geographic Safari Interactive Mag – some of the comments left on the blog post Safari Interactive Magazine put up for us:

Simon Espley “Don’t get between hippos and their perceived safety (deep water). Enjoy, very envious. Boated the Zambezi source to mouth years ago (albeit in ducks) – hippos provided the most ‘fun’.”

Jacqui:“Take my Pit Bull with you!!!! They don’t know she’s a big softy!!!!

Simon: “Don’t get between hippos and their perceived safety (deep water). Enjoy, very envious. Boated the Zambezi source to mouth years ago (albeit in ducks) – hippos provided the most ‘fun’”.


Anton Crone: “No advice except to say, take me with you and I’ll gladly scare off the ‘po’s. With admiration and envy.”

And we haven’t even started on the croc stories!! If anyone has any other ‘good advice’ out there, please feel free to leave your comments here at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for stopping by. More soon…

The Florios (Helen & Florio)

Jason Florio on Vimeo – talking all things expedition and fine art photography prints:

PRESS: Let’s Be Wild – An Adventure Travel Magazine – feature the River Gambia Expedition

August 2012

We were thrilled, and flattered, when ‘Let’s Be Wild’ magazine contacted us about featuring our River Gambia Expedition. The mag features an array of wild, wondrous, and weird, adventures, journeys and expeditions from all over the globe.

If you want to be inspired take a look at the magazineThe ultimate destination for travelers, adventurers, and those suffering from severe cases of wanderlust and adrenaline deficiency.’

And, if you want a quick peek at what we’re up to, check out our very own award-winning photographer and expedition co-leader, Jason Florio on Vimeo (click on the image):

Vimeo – Award-winning photographer Jason Florio talks about the River Gambia Expedition 2012 and ‘An Exchange’ for his fine art prints

To view the above Vimeo footage, please click on the above image. And, to check out the whys and wherefores about our River Gambia Expedition 2012, please click here

OK…now its time for our BIG push on the fundraising front. We’re not going to beat about the bush, or be too proud here (we can’t afford to be, for starters). We’ve raised around 25% of what we need to get this expedition fully off the ground – or to get our paddles in the River Gambia, to begin our ‘River Gambia Expedition 2012 – 1000km source to sea African odyssey’. But here’s the skinny on what we still need to raise: $9,000 / £7,500 – by the end of September – as in 2012 September! Crikey!

Firstly though, and very importantly, we’ve been overwhelmed, and humbled, by the response we’ve had so far to our ‘An Exchange’ programme – from friends, family and colleagues alike. Florio’s fine art photography prints, from images he will take on the expedition (for donations of $100/£65 and over), will be winging their way to them once we return from the journey. We’ve also had some incredible product sponsorship, which helps to cut back considerably on what we originally had to raise. We’re extremely grateful for this support too.

Here is an example of one of Florio’s delectable fine art prints that we offered to our donators from our last expedition, ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ in 2009 – ‘Herouna with his white horse’ which was also one of the favourite images that people chose, from what became an award-winning series of portraits of Gambian chiefs and elders.

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

Florio and I will be covering our own expenses for the expedition, but what we really need help with are the on-the-ground hard cash expenses needed for operating a project such as this, down in West Africa – which Florio explains rather succinctly on the above Vimeo footage. But, to give you a quick run down, any monies raised will be used to pay our two Gambian team mates, Abdou and Ebou, for 2-3 months (they also both have extended family to support whilst they are on the journey with us); Guinea and Senegal guides/fixers; medical supply kits, emergency get-out contingency plans (which, hopefully we won’t need, but…)…the list goes on. But, to get on the River Gambia, we need your help.

Dusk – Fisherman in the River Gambia © Jason Florio 2009. A rare, much-needed, and blissful, break from our 930km walk around The Gambia.

As mentioned, we’ve have some great product sponsors on board already but… if any of you have any connections with camping gear, hiking boot etc. (please see our full wish list on the ‘An Exchange’ page) manufacturers, we’d be ever so grateful if you would share this post and/or the blog link.

If you don’t have the spare resources to exchange for one of Florio’s a fine art prints, then no problem (however, there is still time to enter the Aug 31st ‘Print Draw’ - donations of $25/£16 gives you the chance to win one of his prints)…we are more than happy to have you on board, following our journey on here, the blog, and our FB page. You can also contribute by spreading the word about the River Gambia Expedition 2012 with your friends. Please. We’d appreciate that very much indeed.

And, for those who wish to become involved in ‘An Exchange’, again, please check out the Vimeo footage and/or click on this link for all the information that you need to donate through Paypal – or, if you’ve gotten this far and have already decided to jump on board with us (thanks for the faith in what we’re planning), simply click on the Paypal icon in the right hand column of this page, which will take you directly to the PayPal website.

With thanks, gratitude and eternal hope!

Helen & Florio (The Florios)

P.S. Just another little taster of the sublime quality of the fine art photography which Florio produces, when he is behind his camera – prints of similar beauty could belong to you, from this forthcoming expedition

Gambian woman waiting for the ferry to cross the River Gambia in Karantaba, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio 2009

31st Aug Deadline: ‘Print Draw’: For just $25/£16 – a chance to win one of Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints

‘Indian Dancer’ The state of Rajasthan © Jason Florio pdf image#5

There is still time to get your name put into the hat before the 31st August deadline for the ‘Print Draw’.

A one-off chance to acquire one of, multi award-winning photographer (and River Gambia Expedition 2012 Co-leader), Jason Florio’s limited edition fine art photography prints for a song!

Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Jason Florio pdf image#4

OK… we don’t exactly expect you to sing us a song – although, any good ones will be greatly received and Vimeo’d! – for as little as $25/£16 we are offering you the chance to win one of a series of 8, 16″x20″ Pre-Expedition 2012 Donation prints 2012 (please click on the link to download the pdf of images) – in exchange for your donation.

Sky Over Texas © Jason Florio – pdf image#7

Here’s how the print draw exchange works:

$25/£16 will get your name put into the hat one time

$100/£65 will get your name put into the hat five times (5 for the price of 4 and a better chance of getting a print!).

The winner will be announced, after the names have been drawn from the hat, on August 31st, 2012 @ 4pm EST/9pm GMT

click on this link: Paypal Instructions – for a step by step guide on how to donate. Or, if you have a paypal account, simply click on the PayPal icon, at the top, in the right hand column of this page.

As an added bonus: the winner will also receive an exclusive 8″x10″ River Gambia Expedition 2012 print, which Jason will take whilst in the journey.

If you don’t want to take a chance then, to guarantee you get a print for your donation, you can always go through the usual donations channels and donate $100/£65 and over (open until 1st October, 2012): ‘An Exchange: donations for fine art prints from the River Gambia Expedition 2012′ Please Note: Anyone who donates $100/£65 and over, before the 31st August, through the usual donations channels, will automatically have their name included in the August 31st ‘print draw’.

‘Caravan, England’ © Jason Florio pdf image#1

Come on, you know it makes sense!

Love, thanks and respect

The Florios x

P.S. FYI: Through the gallery, Florio’s 16×20 fine art photography prints normally retail at $1,200-$1,500/£770-£970

If you want to see how to guarantee you get a print by Jason Florio, in exchange for a donation, please check out Jason on Vimeo (click the image to view):

‘Invest in an expedition, art and travel journalism’ by Fiona Cullinan

‘People like that can be bloody annoying – if they’re not making you green with envy, they’re killing your own stories with their oneupmanship. But it’s fair to say that everyone on that Gambia trip hung on Flo’s tales of adventure.

Five years on and with media budgets slashed, Flo’s freelance travel journalism has, like mine, become increasingly inviable.

But you can’t stop someone with a passion. And, as good reportage costs money, Jason is fundraising for his next expedition in his beloved Gambia by selling fine art prints which he will create along the journey.’ Fiona Cullinan – please check out the rest of her article on her blog ‘Tourist vs Traveller’

It with great thanks to travel writer and journalist, Fiona Cullinan, for not only getting involved in ‘An Exchange’ but also for her blog post on how we are endeavouring to raise funds, in exchange for Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints, for our River Gambia Expedition 2012. She can, especially as a journalist, empathise with how difficult it can be to raise funds for documentary projects.

You can check Florio – our very own multi award-winning photographer and expedition co-leader – out as he talks about what River Gambia Expedition 2012 is all about and how you can get involved – i.e. acquire one of his limited edition fine art photography prints which he will take whilst on the journey (also, check out the ‘Print Draw’ - deadline 31st August – you could win a Florio print for as little as $25/£16!!):

To view the fine art photography we had on offer to donors in our 2009 ‘Exchange’ – for our ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – a 930km African odyssey’ expedition – please check this link: ‘Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey’

We hope you too will jump on board!

Thanks again to Fiona. And, thank you all, as always, for taking an interest in the blog and the River Gambia Expedition 2012

The Florios (Helen & Jason ‘Flo’ )