We are particularly honored to except their invitation because, although we are spending an extended period here in West Africa at the moment, New York has been our home for some years now. We only wish we could be there to see it. However, we are more than happy to have ‘River Gambia‘ representing us… floating around on the East River in NYC.
To see more of Jason’s ‘River Gambia‘ series, please visit the website: floriophoto.com. And, if you would like to read about and see more images from the journey – check out our ‘River Gambia Expedition‘ blog.
Jason and I have just completed our Gambia coastline walk and what a truly lovely experience it was; albeit mighty humid – an average of 90% humidity every day. ‘Mad dogs and English (wo)men…’ kept springing to mind. Even now, as I sit here typing in the relative coolness of our house, my fingers feel as if they sticking to the keyboard.
The story was assigned by an airline inflight magazine. So, unfortunately, until they publish itwe can’t really say too much about the walk. However, we can share a few images from along the way – most of Jason’s however we’ll have to hold back on until the photo editor decides what they want to use.
Day One – Jinack Lodge, Jinack Island It has begun, our 80km walk along the Gambian coastline. We’ll be updating images – connection allowing – onto our floriotravels instagram page. The stories will come later…
After an hours undulating pirogue ride – in the surging, swelling (and downright petrifying at times), waters of the Atlantic Ocean – from the island, we landed back on mainland terra firma to begin our first day of walking: miles walked to-date – 13.5km / temperature – 31°C/humidity 74%. Hot, hot, hot!
Huge gratitude to Devon, Amadou, and all at Jinack Lodge (the cook, Binta’s, chicken yassa is delicious!), for their gracious hospitality. And the Jinack Islanders, for making us feel most welcome indeed. A sublime, and mystical (more on that at a later date), place. We only wish we’d had more time to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the island. Next time… .
On route, via Brussels Airlines, back down to The Gambia the other day, Jason was leafing through their new October inflight magazine, B There (a bi-monthly which covers the sub-Saharan African network) and came across the piece he wrote for them about our escapades of picking up hitchhikers in Gambia – a commonplace, and the cheapest, way to travel for a lot of people all over the country.
‘In the early days we clutched the steering wheel and pressed the accelerator, staring forward and pretending we didn’t notice the hitchhikers. After all, an unhealthy diet of American slasher movies had taught us the consequential horrors of allowing a stranger on to your backseat.’ ‘Without a Hitch‘ by Jason Florio for B There Magazine
A BIG thank you to our dear friends, Maurice and Geri Phillips, of Sandele Eco Retreat, The Gambia – if it were not for them loaning us ‘the whale’ we wouldn’t have had half the fun of picking up random strangers from the side of the road in the small West African country.
We’ll be working more with Brussels Airlines for their sister bi-monthly inflight magazine, B Spirit, very shortly – again, in The Gambia – which will involve walking and beaches.
More news on that soon… .
In the meantime, please feel free to subscribe for the odd update with some nice photographs – or ‘like‘ us on FB and ‘follow‘ us on Twitter.
Jason and I are preparing to head back down to The Gambia next week. After a sojourn in the UK (and a flying visit back home to NYC), our first assignment back on West African soil, for a feature article, is to walk the 80km coastline of The Gambia. So, it’s time to lace up our sorely neglected walking boots – or, my case, polish off my old Birkenstocks – hey, if I can walk 930km around the small West African country, I’ll be virtually sprinting 80km.
Although we’ll be treading some familiar ground – and no doubt seeing some familiar faces along the way – but we’re excited about exploring parts of the coastline we haven’t done so before.
In early December, 2012 – mid-January, 2013, we followed the course of one of Africa’s last major free-flowing rivers – the River Gambia. Along the way, Jason documented the everyday life of those people who’s lives depend on the river.
For the last couple of years we have been asked to donate prints to Critical Exposure – for their Picture Equality fundraising auction; to which we have readily agreed to. It’s such a good cause, which helps to raise thousands of dollars.
‘Critical Exposure teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change.’ About Critical Exposure
This is Critical Exposure’s 10th Anniversary and last year they raised over $30,000 for their programs, to help empower youth through the medium of photography – which falls in with the ethos of what we are endeavoring to achieve with our ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘ workshops; we held the inaugural workshop in The Gambia, West Africa, earlier this year.
Please help spread the word, to make 2014’s auction an even bigger success – you can even bid for Jason’s print or for donated prints from other photographers, including Ed Kashi, Ami Vitale, and National Geographic.
We are already missing being physically present at Photoville this year. The phenomenal Brooklyn based unique photo destination is, to date, one of the most enjoyable exhibitions we have ever done . We were astonished at the volume of people who passed through our exhibition shipping container doors over the course of PV 2013 – 1000’s of people, who may otherwise never have seen the body of work we exhibited.
Photoville has yet another stellar cast of photographers exhibiting at this years event – last years had over 50 shipping container exhibitions! – and a multitude of workshops and panel discussions, including:
La Frontera: ‘With this long term project I document cultural activities in what used to be some of the worlds most dangerous cities along the US/Mexican border. Since 2008 I photographed 180 artists along the entire 2000 miles long divide to show the vibrant cultural side of a region that is usually portrayed by the international media with the sole focus on violent crime... .’ Stefan Falke
Personal Projects, Long Term Commitments- panel discussion with *Julie Grahame/aCurator & Stella Kramer/Stellazine: ‘Meet three photographers who are successfully executing personal projects. Marvi Lacar will talk about her project concerning mental illness, Andi Schreiber will talk about her series “Pretty, Please,” exploring middle-age in a youth-obsessed culture, and Catherine Chalmers looks at bugs, most recently working with leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica. They will present their work, discuss the long-term commitments involved and take questions afterwards.’
*Julie and Stella – a formidable duo – are the best at what they do (individually and together). Therefore, if you need to book for this panel, book it now!
There are many, many more incredible exhibitions and talks in the PV 2014 program – we could list them all! However, why not click over to their website and check it out for yourself: Photoville Exhibitions. You can then click through to the various sections for the workshops, panels, and so on.
Although we have been enviously watching, from across the Atlantic, the preparations unfold towards this years PV opening (Sept 18th), and although we can’t be there in person, we will be there – in spirit or should that be, print. We were/are extremely flattered when the wonderfully energetic, organised, and truly inspiring PV team (especially founders: Sam, Laura, and Dave), asked us to exhibit the ‘River Gambia‘ images on the NY Waterway’s East River Ferry – as part of a series of exhibitions from various photographers. We believe our exhibition will run sometime in early October, for 3-4 weeks. We’ll keep you posted on that, as and when it happens.
Thanks Photoville guys – big love! And, to everyone involved in or going to this years event – have a blast and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, be truly inspired, wander amongst 1000’s like-minded souls, and take in this exceptional view!
Over the space of a few (all too) short hours, we sat and listened to superb narrative – facts and anecdotes, richly woven together – from, amongst others, descendents of the above mentioned (who themselves have gone on to become 21st Century African explorers in their own right), highly acclaimed explorers of the 19th Century.
We also got a chance to listen to Levison Wood, give a synopsis of ‘Walking the Nile‘ – he very recently completed an astonishing 3750 miles walk of the length of the mighty river. It was all too brief… I’m certain Lev could have easily filled the whole afternoon, regaling the audience with tales (and great images) about his incredible journey. Alas, we will have to wait until 2015, when the documentary series of his epic walk is aired on C4.
Yesterday’s vicarious immersion into great explorers, past and present, has our adventure juices well and truly whetted.
Thanks again to Lev Wood and to Jane Sparrow, BRLSI Geography & Adventure Group, for extending the invite.