soma night shotAfter 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.

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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.

'Silafando' - a gift to you on behalf of my journey
Alkalo Dadi Bah, Tuba Dabbo, The Gambia © Jason Florio – ‘Silafando’ portraits of village chiefs and elders.

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.

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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
youtube river gambia
Youtube: ‘River Gambia’ – footage © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio. Click on image or here to view

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.

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Photos Tell Stories in Kartong, The Gambia

 

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Photos Tell Stories in Fajara, The Gambia

More images from the Photos Tell Stories students work coming soon.

The Florios – Jason & Helen

H and Flo Allys
Helen & Jason – River Gambia Expedition
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