After each of our 1-day ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘ workshops, Jason Florio (PTS’s photographer and tutor) would make an edit of the students work. When darkness fell, we would then project their images onto a huge inflatable, cinema-sized, screen – thanks to our main partners, the U.S. Embassy, Banjul – for the whole village or town to see.
The above shots are from the night projections in Soma, in the Lower River Division of The Gambia, showing the Silicon Institute students work. It was quite the party – cheering, singing, and dancing as each image was projected.
Soma is a noteworthy place to us, as we had passed through there on both our West Africa expeditions. We stopped to get supplies, late 2009, when we were walking around The Gambia: ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush – 930km African odyssey‘ with our two donkeys and a cart (to carry only our camera and camping gear – and not us, I hasten to add!). During our walk, Jason made formal portraits of all the village chiefs and elders who we stayed with each night. These images resulted in an award-winning body of work – ‘Silafando – a gift to you on behalf of my journey‘ - and they have also been exhibited around the world.
The next time we visited Soma, early 2013, we approached the town by river, in two Canadian-style folding canoes, whilst we were on the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’.
Starting at the source of the River Gambia, in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea, we had over-landed up and down the mountains, before getting our two canoes into the river in Kedougou, on the boarder of Guinea-Conakry. The aim of this journey was to make a photo documentary of the people who live and work along one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers – before the potential building of a dam, which will irrevocably change many of those peoples lives. The ‘River Gambia’ body of work has also been exhibited worldwide – via exhibitions and media coverage.
Two Christian men from the Bassari tribe bathe in River Gambia in Senegal next to a Patas monkey they had shot in the forest on the opposite bank. The monkey was hunted for its meat for a treat for their family, as it was Christmas day. Image © Jason Florio
After showing our PTS’s students both bodies of work, along with teaching them the techniques of photography, throughout the workshops, a couple of them have shown a real talent for capturing an image. We hope that they will continue to develop this talent. Please check out more of the students work here.
More images from the Photos Tell Stories students work coming soon.
The Florios - Jason & Helen