‘Out with the old and in with the new Gambia’

‘Out with the old and in with the new Gambia’ – images © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

President Adama Barrow, the Republic of The Gambia © Jason Florio
President Adama Barrow, the Republic of The Gambia © Jason Florio

 

View full series of images on Jason Florio’s blog

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Press: IRIN News – Gambians seek justice after Jammeh’s fall

IRIN NEWS - tortured under Jammeh's rule, Gambian's seek justice - image © Jason Florio
IRIN NEWS – tortured under Jammeh’s rule, Gambian’s seek justice – image © Jason Florio

 

Mariama Saine - one of the last Gambian's to be arrested and tortured under Jammeh's regime, The Gambia, West Africa - portrait © Jason Florio
Mariama Saine – one of the last Gambian’s to be arrested and tortured under Jammeh’s regime – portrait © Jason Florio
“They were beating me while I could hear the election results being announced on a television,” said Saine. “When Jammeh was ahead in the polls, the meanest one kicked me and said ‘Tomorrow, your head will be on a plate’. I was really scared.” read more IRIN News
Mariama Saine interview for IRIN News - one of the last Gambian's to be tortured under Jammeh's regime, The Gambia, West Africa - image © Helen Jones-Florio
“Not only for my case. I want to see all those people who have committed these atrocities prosecuted, all of them.” – Mariama Saine interview for IRIN News – image © Helen Jones-Florio

 

 

See also: ‘Documenting a Past Regime – ex-Mile II prisoners, The Gambia

Press: photographing repatriated Gambians for IRIN News – images © Jason Florio

Mohammed - repatriated Gambian from Libya, by IOM - image © Jason Florio
IRIN News – Mohammed – one of 140 Gambians who was repatriated from Libya by IOM- image © Jason Florio   

 

Repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, with his uncle, Alieu, The Gambia ©Jason Florio
Repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, with his uncle, Alieu, The Gambia ©Jason Florio

 

‘Just two weeks earlier, he was languishing in a prison near Tripoli; his third spell in detention during the nine months he spent in Libya trying to board a boat to cross the Mediterranean…’ read more at IRIN News – words by Louise Hunt + additional reporting from Banjul by Jason Florio
Jason Florio photographing repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio photographing repatriated Gambian, Mohammed, The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

Happy New Year from #ebolafree Gambia! A Year in the life of a photographer and producer team

PHOTOS TELL STORIES

FAIRIES_MG_0601Traditional masquerades – ‘Fairies’ – Banjul, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio (personal multi media project with Helen Jones-Florio)

_MG_1341 Village Banking, Ghana, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal, NGO

ebola_camera_1.-060 Ebola sensitization in The Gambia, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal, NGO

Amigoe_MG_1332Multi-media: Togolese artist, Amigoe – Image © Jason Florio (personal multi-media project with Helen Jones-Florio) – Vimeo – ‘I am Amigoe, artist-painter’

BBC NEWS_SERREKUNDA_COUPBBC Africa News – Image © Helen Jones-Florio – 12/30/2014

Updated ‘A Year in the Life of…’: 12/31/14

Thankfully, all is now quiet on the ‘Smiling Coast‘ of The Gambia, after yesterdays ‘attempted coup’.

It’s now been a little over a year since we packed our bags and left behind our much loved apartment, in Greenwich Village, to temporarily decamp the all too comfortable familiarities of our cosmopolitan New York City…

View original post 597 more words

Happy New Year from #ebolafree Gambia! A Year in the life of a photographer and producer team

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Traditional masquerades – ‘Fairies’ – Banjul, The Gambia. Image © Jason Florio (personal multi media project with Helen Jones-Florio)

 

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Village Banking, Ghana, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal, NGO

 

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Ebola sensitization in The Gambia, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal, NGO

 

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Multi-media: Togolese artist, Amigoe – Image © Jason Florio (personal multi-media project with Helen Jones-Florio) – Vimeo – ‘I am Amigoe, artist-painter’

 

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BBC Africa News – Image © Helen Jones-Florio – 12/30/2014

 

Updated ‘A Year in the Life of…’: 12/31/14

Thankfully, all is now quiet on the ‘Smiling Coast‘ of The Gambia, after yesterdays ‘attempted coup’.

It’s now been a little over a year since we packed our bags and left behind our much loved apartment, in Greenwich Village, to temporarily decamp the all too comfortable familiarities of our cosmopolitan New York City life, to the tiny Republic of The Gambia, West Africa – a country that both of us are equally familiar with, having spent over 17 years coming backwards and forwards, (‘ikatah, ikanah’), individually and, during the last five years, as a couple.

At times, the transition has been a stretch, having left behind all that NYC has to offer, the things we coolly took for granted – museums, photography galleries, spectacular architecture, cultural diversity…the constant sensory overload.

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Quad Biking in The Gambia, West Africa – Images © Jason Florio for Arik Air/Wings Magazine

 

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President Yahya Jammeh, of The Gambia, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio (stock/Photoshelter)

 

However (despite the Ebola epidemic – which has tragically effected so many in three other West African countries and , although not one single case  has been reported here, Gambia has been marred by the outbreaks…the results of which have yet to fully emerge), we’ve found that this narrow slither of land has all of the above mentioned to offer too, as we’ve enjoyed a hectic year of working with, amongst others,  the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC – producing portraits of the traditional masquerades); we’ve exhibited our ‘Photos Tell Stories Photography Workshops students work at Alliance Française (and we’re planning to exhibit Jason’s ‘Silafando’ portraits, from our 2009 ‘A Short Walk in The Gambian Bush expedition, with NCAC, early next year); we’ve taken a stroll along the entire coastline of the country, staying in some of the most architecturally inspiring lodges in The Gambia (story to be published shortly). It’s all here… we just need all our friends from NYC to decamp and life will be complete! However, even that balances itself out here, as old friendships continue to grow, our circle of new friends expands, and we constantly meet inspiring folk who pop into the country from all over Africa and the rest of the world.

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Aside from the work we’ve been doing in The Gambia, this past year, Jason has been off on his travels, on assignment for various clients – including the New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and Men’s Journal,  which has taken him to other parts of West and East Africa. He’s also traveled up to Spain and Turkey (PepsiCo), back to NYC (Tablet Magazine), and, we’ve just returned from assignment in Ghana for Concern Universal, who we work regularly with.

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Natural soap making, Northern Ghana – Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal
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Tomato farming, Ghana – Image © Jason Florio for Concern Universal

 

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Aspire Academy, Senegal, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio for the New York Times
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Aspire Academy, Senegal, West Africa – Image © Jason Florio for the New York Times

 

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Young knife trader, Pakwatch Uganda – ‘Walking the Nile’ /Men’s Journal – Image © Jason Florio
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Lev Wood & Boston (left) , Uganda, ‘Walking the Nile’/Men’s Journal – Image © Jason Florio

 

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Walking 80km of the Gambia coastline, Sanementareng sacred forest. Image © Jason Florio for bSpirit Magazine/Brussels Airlines (to be published shortly)

 

Judging by this past year, and very recent events here in The Gambia, I’ll wager that there is plenty to keep us busy – and entertained – for quite some time, here in West Africa and further afield.

Wishing you all a very happy and peaceful New Year

The Florios – Helen & Jason

Assignment requests: please contact helen.jones@floriophoto.com

Dedicated to Matthew Power – 1974-2014

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Image © Jason Florio, Uganda, March 2014

New photo project: Masquerades, The (#ebolafree) Gambia, West Africa

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©Jason Florio

 

Now that we are back in The Gambia, we’ll be continuing with a photography project, based on the traditional masquerades of this region of West Africa. Despite Gambia being a predominantly Muslim country, the animist fuelled masquerade ceremonies pre-date the arrival of Islam, and  and are still tolerated and practiced around the country. Animism is an intriguing subject – the belief that animals and inanimate objects, such as trees, possess a soul, or a spiritual essence.

Also, the juxtaposition between the urban environment and these ancient traditions is fascinating – just like ‘The Hunting’, pictured above (©Jason Florio), in the concrete and corrugated iron enclave of the capital city of Banjul.

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Jason Florio and ‘The Hunting’ – © HJF – screen grab, taken from film footage.

 

Whether it be a circumcision ceremony, celebrating a successful harvest, chasing away evil spirits, enforcing village rules, or simply for entertainment, each particular masquerade plays a central and significant role in many parts of West African society.

Most of the masquerades we’ve seen so far are based on animals. However, the traditions are being hauled into the 21st century, modernised by the use of synthetic fabrics and ornaments, such as Christmas tree baubles, adorning ‘new-style’ masquerades. However, more on those particular masquerades as we move on with the project (sneak preview, below).

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

The Florios – Helen & Jason

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HJF hanging with the ‘Fairy’ masquerade, Banjul, The Gambia © JF

Press: The Voice newspaper, Gambia, features ‘Photos Tell Stories: photographs of The Gambia by Gambians’ exhibition

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The Voice, interview with Jason & Helen Florio

 

Many thanks to Nfamara Camera – a journalist from Gambia’s Voice newspaper – for coming along to the ‘Photos Tell Stories – photographs of The Gambia by Gambians‘ exhibition opening night on Friday 15th May, at Alliance Française. It’s great to have such positive  national press coverage, to showcase our PTS’s workshops students photography.

One for the weekend –  an uplifting image, from one of the sixty prints we have on exhibit at AF, until May 31st, 2014 – by Lucy Njoku, Kartong village Photos Tell Stories photography workshop:

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Please check out ‘Students Work‘ to see images from all the Gambia photography workshops we taught, courtesy of the US Embassy, Banjul.

More news coming soon.

The Florios – Helen & Jason

GRTS (Gambia Radio & TV) coverage of the exhibition opening night

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Press: ‘Source to Sea’ – The New Yorker Photo Booth features Jason Florio’s River Gambia images

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‘Source to Sea’ – The New Yorker Photo Booth. Images © Jason Florio

We are honored to have Jason Florio’sPhotos Tell Stories tutor and photographer – body of work from the ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘ in The New Yorker Photo Booth Magazine. Big thanks to Amber Terranova for asking to feature Jason’s work.  Amber is also one of our contributing photographers – generously allowing us to share her photography with the PTS’s Gambian workshop students.

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‘Source to Sea’ – The New Yorker Photo Booth. Images © Jason Florio

To view more of Jason Florio’s work, please visit his website: floriophoto.com

We’ll be posting more about our Photos Tell Stories photography workshops, here in The Gambia, shortly. If you’d like to check out some of the students work, check out this link.

The Florios – Jason and Helen

PTS LANYARDS

#GambiaHasDecided – one year in

#GambiaHasDecided hashtag campaign founders, The Gambia, West Africa ©Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaHasDecided hashtag campaign founders, Bakau, The Gambia, West Africa. L-R: Lamin, Gilleh, Asta, Salieu  ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

The Gambia – the smallest country on the African continent – has come a long way since this time last year and the beginning of what, doubtlessly, will be an incredibly long journey.

It’s always a pleasure to see these guys, the founders of what became one of the most important, impactful, social media campaigns to come out of West Africa.

#gambiahasdecided 
Inauguration banners for President Adama Barrow - image ©Helen Jones-Florio , 2017. — with Andrew Renneisen and Jason Florio.
Inauguration banners for President Adama Barrow – image ©Helen Jones-Florio , 2017. — with Andrew Renneisen and Jason Florio.

 

#GambiaHasDecided - Gambian boys wearing their t-shirts for President Barrow Senegal inauguration celebrations, at Westfields junction, in The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio
#GambiaHasDecided – President Barrow Senegal inauguration celebrations in The Gambia © Helen Jones-Florio

 

Related posts – New Gambia
@floriotravels/Instagram

Back in The Gambia, West Africa – on assignment

Jason Florio, filming, wading in the Atlantic Ocean, The Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer, Jason Florio, filming, wading in the Atlantic Ocean, The Gambia ©Helen Jones-Florio

 

It’s always good to be back on the ‘Smiling Coast‘ – there is a lot going on in the #NewGambia. More news soon…

Follow us on Instagram for regular photo updates – @floriotravels / @jasonflorio

Jason Florio, filming in Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio, filming in Serrekunda, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio   

 

See more about our Gambia travels, assignments, expeditions, and more...