Back in The Gambia – doors and storefronts of a small West African country

A quick update as we prepare to set off for a day of filming (more on that later) with Jason Florio. I’m looking forward to capturing more of the unique and quirky doors and storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa. Helen Jones-Florio

Gambia Doors: a local cafe storefront, with hand painted signs - with a goat hiding in the shade of the terrace - in a suburban setting. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaDoors photography prints: Ain’t nobody here but us…goats. Cafe Tangana, Bantaba Cafeteria, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

#GambiaDoors

#GambiaDoors: Doors and Storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa - barber shop storefront showing hand-painted hairstyles. Image © Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaDoors: Doors and Storefronts of The Gambia, West Africa: ‘The Standard Barber Shop’, Serrekunda. Image © Helen Jones-Florio

See also #DisappearingMalta

CURRENT LOCATION: OCTOBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

The Photoville FENCE, 2020: ‘The Gambia-victims, and resisters’

We are thrilled to be chosen for The Photoville FENCE, 2020, with our on-going series, ‘Gambia – victims and resisters– a multimedia body of work that began back in 2016. With the blessing of those we have photographed and filmed, our intention has always been to share their very personal and traumatic stories far and wide. Heartfelt thanks to the FENCE jurors and the Photoville team for helping us to achieve this.

The Photoville FENCE 2020 - Nana Jo Ndow holds a photograph of her father, Saul Ndow who was killed by Gambian security forces. 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Nana-Jo Ndow, daughter of Saul Ndow, who, in 2013, was forcibly disappeared from Senegal, along with Mahawa Cham, former Gambian MP. Witness testimonies revealed that they had been abducted and taken over the border into The Gambia, where they were both killed by Jammeh’s hits quad ‘The Junglers‘ Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#ThePhotovilleFENCE – ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

The Photoville FENCE is a year-round public photography project exhibited in major parks and downtowns across North America. Featuring over 90 photographers annually, the exhibition brings compelling visual stories into the public realm, and to a wide and diverse audience.

The 9th edition will be displayed in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Calgary, Denver, Durham, Houston, Metro (Fargo, W. Fargo and Moorhead), New Orleans, Sarasota, Seattle and Winchester!‘ Read/see more: The Photoville FENCE

The Photoville FENCE 2020 - Portrait of Sgt Basiru Camara and the remains of an exhumation in The Gambia. 'Gambia - victims, and resisters' ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Sgt Basiru Camara, killed by Gambian security forces in 1994 and the remains of an exhumation, Yundum Barracks, The Gambia, in 2019. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

President Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for twenty two years after taking control of the country with a coup in July1994. With Jammeh’s exile after electoral defeat in 2016, a Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) was set up to look into his regime’s abuses. The TRRC along with victims families and local media at Yundum army Barracks where the bodies of seven murdered soldiers were exhumed. The soldiers were murdered by soldiers loyal to Jammeh for being allegedly part of a counter coup in November 1994. Witnesses say eleven soldiers were buried at the barracks, so far only seven have been found. Along with the bone fragments, electrical cables were also found that were used to bind the victims hands. The only clothing found were underwear, corroborating witness testimonies that the men were stripped almost naked before being shot.

#ThePhotovilleFENCE
Portrait: Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of murdered Gambian opposition leader, Solo Sandeng. She escaped into exile to Senegal after her father's murder in 2016 - at the hands of Yahya Jammeh's security forces - fearful that she would be targeted next ©Jason Florio
The Photoville FENCE – Fatoumatta Sandeng, daughter of murdered Gambian opposition leader, Solo Sandeng. She escaped into exile to Senegal after her father’s murder in 2016 – at the hands of Yahya Jammeh’s security forces – fearful that she would be targeted next ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#Portraits4PositiveChange

From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders. 

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.

So far, over 1000 victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice

Exhibiting at Photoville, NYC, 2013: Images from our ‘River Gambia – 1044km source-sea African odyssey’ expedition – Image of Helen Jones-Florio © Jason Florio

Please vote for us and a chance for our work to be chosen for the People’s Choice Winner of the 9th edition of the Photoville FENCE!!

Cast your vote for the People’s Choice Winner of the 9th edition of the Photoville FENCE! Help decide the artist who will receive a Leica camera package and a yearlong mentorship with the Photoville team. 

Individuals may cast one vote per day from now through January 2021. 

________________

Header image: Gambian student, Ami Lowe.

“I grew up not knowing the love of a father. I was only three years old when he disappeared, so I don’t remember him. I only know him through what people have told me, that he was a good man, and some say he was a hero.” Amie Lowe

17 year old Amie Lowe photographed in her father’s room, left unchanged since he was killed in 2006. Amie’s father, Lt Ebou Lowe was disappeared and executed by members of the former president, Yahya Jammeh’s hit squad, ‘the Junglers’, after he was accused of being part of a coup attempt in 2006 to overthrow the dictatorial Jammeh regime. Image ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio ‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

View more portraits from this on-going, multimedia, series on Jason Florio’s website floriophoto.com

Gambia - victims and resisters: portrait of Bintu Tunkara, daughter of murdered Gambian Lamin Tunkara, holding the only photo she has of him on her mothers cell phone ©Jason Florio
‘Gambia – victims, and resisters‘ – Binta Tunkara, daughter of murdered Gambian, Lamin Tunkara. He was part of a group of 56 West African migrants who were murdered. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
Watch: ‘I Cannot Bury My Father’ – short documentary about the murder of 56 West African migrants, in 2005, in The Gambia, by Yahya Jammeh’s security forces

CURRENT LOCATION: OCTOBER 2020 – THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

The Stray Cats of Malta – No Wahala

Over the last few years, whilst we have been based on the small Mediterranean island of Malta, we’ve had some regular, and very welcome, feline visitors – some of whom, as you can see, make themselves very much at home. These strays saunter in, from the Cat Village (run by the inimitable, indefatigable Roza Zammit Salinos) across the street, whenever they see the front door open. They then wend their way up three flights of stairs to the top of the house and into our apartment.

And, for some reason, they all seem to gravitate towards our West Africa, ‘no wahala‘, chair. Although, it can get a wee bit messy if one of them tries to get onto ‘their’ favourite chair at the same time as one of the others! After all, these are tough street-wise cats.

The Stray Cats of Malta - 'Choghm', a white and ginger cat, sleeps on a cushion from Nigeria, with the words 'No Wahala' and a drawing of a family on a motorcycle on the front of it.Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
The Stray Cats of Malta – ‘Choghm’ (aka ‘Dirty-Faced-Cat). Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

Residents Campaign to Save the Last Tree in Spinola

The Stray Cats of Malta - 'Tigger', a grey tabby cat, sits looking at the camera, on a cushion from Nigeria, with the words 'No Wahala' and a drawing of a family on a motorcycle on the front of it.Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
The Stray Cats of Malta – ‘Tigger’. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

@floriophotos – follow us on Instagram

The Stray Cats of Malta - 'Romeo', a big ginger tom cat, yawns, sitting against a cushion from Nigeria, with the words 'No Wahala' and a drawing of a family on a motorcycle on the front of it.Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
The Stray Cats of Malta – ‘Romeo’. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

Stray Dogs of The Gambia, West Africa

We also highly welcome in our regular stray street/beach dogs whenever we are working in The Gambia (which is often).

Gambia dogs - a man reads a book, lying on a Persian carpet, with a dog lying next to him. Image © Helen Jones-Florio
Gambia Dogs: one man and his dog – Florio and Wolf (RIP sweet Wolfie), The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

CURRENT LOCATION: SEPTEMBER 2020 – MALTA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

‘The Day The Towers Fell – my 9/11 journey’ Jason Florio

The Day The Towers Fell – my 9/11 journey

'The Day The Towers Fell - my 9/11 journey' Jason Florio: September 11th, 2001-the North Tower on fire after the first plane hits, World Trade Center Towers, NYC. Black and white image ©Jason Florio
WATCH September 11th, 2001-the North Tower on fire after the first plane hits, World Trade Center, NYC. Black and white image ©Jason Florio

The Day The Towers Fell – my 9/11 journey In August 2001 I went to Afghanistan to photograph a war – all was quiet. But when I returned to my home in New York City, in early September, the war came to me’ Jason Florio – full interview Photography Daily Show 

9/11 – more images

'The Day The Towers Fell - my 9/11 journey' Jason Florio: September 11th, 2001-people escaping Lower Manhattan, among the debris from the fallen World Trade Center Towers, NYC. Black and white image ©Jason Florio
September 11th, 2001-people escaping, among the debris, the area of the fallen World Trade Center Towers, NYC. ©Jason Florio

The Day The Towers Fell – my 9/11 journey

'The Day The Towers Fell - my 9/11 journey' Jason Florio: September 11th, 2001-A New York City cop stands with his head down, among the debris from the fallen World Trade Center Towers, NYC. Black and white image ©Jason Florio
September 11th, 2001-A New York City cop stands with his head down, among the debris from the fallen World Trade Center Towers, NYC. image ©Jason Florio

An Afghan Diary

…To follow the full story on Afghanistan (from my previous trip, in 2000) we knew we also need it to head to the north-east to meet the Taliban opposition, the Northern Alliance, who controlled that portion of the country. This we could not do until a year later in August 2001.

Our first attempt to cross the border from Pakistan to the Northern Alliance area disguised as women wearing full covering burqas failed. We then spent the next three weeks organizing a ride into the country via Tajikistan on a Russian helicopter operated by the Northern Alliance… Jason Florio read/see more

The portrait of Ahmed Shah Massoud - 'The Lion of Panjshir' - in his camp in the mountains was taken shortly before he was killed. Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. black and white portrait © Jason Florio, September 2001
Ahmed Shah Massoud ‘The Lion of Panjshir’ – Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. Image © Jason Florio, 2001

Current Location: September 2020 – Malta

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