I have been working on this particular series – #GambiaDoors – for many years. The vividly coloured, unintentionally quirky doors and storefronts from the West African country of The Gambia never fail to grab my attention. My husband, Florio, is now well-versed in my random, oft-shouted, ‘Stop!’ in his ear while we are zooming around on the motorcycle. In fact, he now engages in a little door spotting on my behalf. Conversely, over the years, I have also managed to startle several unsuspecting local taxi drivers.
“But why do you want to photo my shop?”
“But why do you want to photo my shop?”, is the question most frequently asked of me from baffled shopkeepers. After 20 plus years of living and working in the region, what may be considered quotidian to many of those shopkeepers, continues to be striking and wondrous to me. Enough to ‘stop!’ me in my tracks (or put the breaks on).
Something is captivating about the misspelled, hand-painted, English-as-we-don’t-know-it, signage – the vivid and the faded paintwork, alike. Barbershops and beauty salons signs are a particular favourite. Ultimately, they make me smile.
December 2012 – January 2013 – My wife, Helen Jones-Florio, and I co-led the first recorded source-to-sea expedition along the length of River Gambia, from its humble source in the remote highlands of Guinea, through Senegal and into The Gambia where it widens to nearly 14km and exits into the Atlantic Ocean. We teamed up with two old Gambian friends, Abdou Ndong a fisherman and Ebou Jarju a school teacher, as our river guide and translator. River Gambia is one of the major arteries into West Africa from the Atlantic Ocean. First penetrated in 1455 by Portuguese explorers, fought over by the French and British, and traveled up by Scottish explorer Mungo Park on both his attempts to seek the course of the River Niger…Jason Florio – read more
A selection of the River Gambia images are currently being exhibited at Photo Swindon – runs through 29th July, 2021
CURRENT LOCATION: United Kingdom – July 2021
Assignmentqueries, and image licensing – Contact here
Uniquely for a photography exhibition, each photographers work will tour three locations within each month. The touring nature of this exhibition breaks new ground being the first time this has been done in the UK to our knowledge. We hope this maximises accessibility to all the people of our rich and diverse community.
The locations will be three of Swindon’s parks, The Town Gardens, Queens Park and the GWR Park; totalling an outdoor exhibition across three parks for a period of three months from 1st July – 3rd October 2021.
Additionally, for 2 weeks in October photography students from New College Swindon will exhibit their work in the Town Gardens, Swindon, and 5th October – 17th October for Graduate Photojournalism and Documentary Photography students from Centre for Art and Photography University of Gloucestershire.
Jason Florio completed the first recorded circumnavigation of The Gambia by foot, co-leading with his wife Helen Jones-Florio – a 930 km expedition, producing an award-winning series of portraits titled ‘Silafando’. Three years later he co-led, with Helen Jones Florio his wife, the first recorded expedition of River Gambia from its source in Guinea-Conakry to the Atlantic Ocean, in The Gambia – creating a document of the communities that live along its 1130 km course before a planned dam was constructed.