‘Musa with Rescued Patas Monkey’ – print donated to Critical Exposure fundraising auction

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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 year, Jason donated ‘Musa with Rescued Patas Monkey‘ – an image from his ‘River Gambia‘ body of work, which he took whilst we were on our ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘.

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.

More news on our travels and work coming soon.

The Florios – Helen & Jason

Helen Jones=Florio & Jason Florio
Helen Jones=Florio & Jason Florio

 

 

Photographing Gambian masquerades with Jason Florio… and an audience

Work in Progress.

We can hardly wait to get back down to West Africa, to carry on working on our personal projects – one of which is a photographic anthology of the traditional masquerades of The Gambia, West Africa.

As a photography producer,  my work takes place behind-the-scenes of assignments, ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible for and during shoot days –  often a lengthy process from pre through to post production.  Perks of the job? Watching Jason Florio at work – his knack of putting all those he works with so quickly at ease is continually inspiring – you can see, from the end results, how well he does this. There is another aspect of our work together, which I enjoy in equal measure – watching the fascination, amusement and, often, bemusement on the faces of those people you don’t see in the final edit… those outside of the frame.

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The ‘Cumpo’ warms up – Casamance, Senegal

 

Image © Jason Florio - the 'Cumpo' in full swing - Casamance, Senegal
Image © Jason Florio – the ‘Cumpo’ in full swing – Casamance, Senegal

 

Light reflecting - Kembujeh village, The Gambia
Light reflecting – Kembujeh village, The Gambia

 

A sneak peek 'Small Devil' masquerade © Jason Florio - Kembujeh village, The Gambia
A sneak peek ‘Small Devil’ masquerade © Jason Florio – Kembujeh village, The Gambia

 

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Don’t get too close to the ‘Fairies’! Banjul, The Gambia

 

Here comes the bride - Banjul, The Gambia
Here comes the bride – Banjul, The Gambia

 

On guard! Banjul, The Gambia
On guard! Banjul, The Gambia

 

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There is a photographer somewhere in this photograph – Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa

 

There is always time to interact with the kids - Kembujeh village, The Gambia
There is always time to interact with the kids – Kembujeh village, The Gambia

 

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Locals stay well clear of ‘The Hunter’ – Kembujeh village, The Gambia

 

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Street photography -Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa

 

Jason's camera is loaned to a budding photographer - from a Malian masquerade group, Banjul, The Gambia
Jason’s camera is loaned to a budding photographer – from a Malian masquerade group, Banjul, The Gambia

 

I do, however, think that I can safely add ‘security person’ to my résumé now – when on so many of our shoots, I regularly have to keep thirty curious kids from jumping in front, gesticulating madly (double thumbs up, gangsta style backwards peace sign, and smart military-like salutes, being the top three), of Jason’s lens!

 

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A very typical scenario on our shoots in West Africa – these kids were determined to get in on the action! @Helen Jones-Florio/Expedition Africa

 

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Thanks for stopping by

Helen Jones-Florio

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Hanging out with the ‘Fairy’ Masquerade, Banjul, The Gambia © Jason Florio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Africa – a sneak peek at personal photography and film projects: traditional masquerades and Togolese artists

After Jason and I finished our inaugural ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘ photography workshops, in Gambia, West Africa – the culmination of which was an exhibition of the young Gambian students work at Alliance Française – we began to look around for new photography projects in the region.

Both of us have always been fascinated by the traditional Gambian ‘masquerades’ – after having seen many over the years, throughout the country and in neighboring Senegal – dynamic, wonderfully mysterious, and sometimes down right dark and scary!

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Image © Jason Forio – the ‘Asamayo’ or ‘Agomalah’ for NGO Concern Universal – Forest festival, Koudioubé, in the Casamance, Senegal

 

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

Before we left The Gambia last month –  a short hiatus to spend time with family – we began to work on the masquerade project…

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Image © Jason Florio – ‘Little Devil’ a sneak peak at one of the masquerades, Kembujeh village, The Gambia, West Africa

 

We’re also working closely with the Gambia National Centre for  Arts and Culture – to produce a series of masquerade portraits for an exhibition in the near future. There is an abundance of masquerades – from the ‘Cumpo‘, ‘Kankurang‘, ‘The Hunter‘, ‘Agomalah’, to the stilted ‘Monpara‘. We look forward to exploring these more fully, when we return to West Africa in the coming months – delving deep into the origins and traditions of each one we meet; to create a photographic anthropology of the traditional masquerade

 

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Image © Jason Florio – Amigoe at home, surrounded by his paintings.

 

On the opening night of the Photos Tell Stories exhibition, we were very fortunate to be introduced to highly accomplished Togolese artist, Amigoe Dieudonné . During further meetings, Amigoe – an articulate, charismatic man – began to tell us the compelling story of his life, since leaving his Togolese home and family at 19 years old, living as a disabled artist, in various countries in West Africa. And, how his travels have shaped the very distinctive art he produces today.

We began to film and photograph Amigoe – again, shortly before we left The Gambia – who invited us into to his home and studio, to fully share with us the rich and vibrant tapestry of his life. We look forward to continuing this story too, when we return.

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Image © Jason Florio – Amigoe at work in his studio, The Gambia, West Africa

 

If you would like to receive updates, simply add your email address to the box in the left hand column of this page – you may also like to check what we are up to on FB, twitter, and Instagram

We would like to extend our thoughts to all those, in West Africa, who have been affected by the recent Ebola crisis, and we pray that it does not spread further.

More news soon…

The Florios – Helen & Jason

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Helen & Jason – opening night of the Photos Tell Stories exhibition – Gambia TV & Radio (about 47 seconds in!) – click image to view footage

Instagram – Floriotravels – West Africa and more…

Along with updates we post on here, we’ll be adding our travel photos to our new Instagram page: floriotravels  – featuring photos from Jason Florio and myself  whether they be work, play, or simply day-to-day life scenes that capture our imagination. Please feel free to ‘follow

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At the moment, we are having a short hiatus from West Africa – a few thousand miles north, in the UK, visiting family and friends – recharging our batteries, ready to head back down there in a few weeks time. However, we sorely miss strolls on the beach…

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image © Jason FlorioChinese fishing boat, Ghana Town beach, The Gambia, West Africa

 

Walking the dogs at dawn on deserted beaches…

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Image © Jason Florio – ‘White Tip’ Cape Point, The Gambia, West Africa

 

And, we particularly look forward to going back to work in the field…

whether it be ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language‘…

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Photography workshop students receive their Photos Tell Stories ‘Certificates of Attendance’ – Kembujeh village, The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio

 

Or on assignment…

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Image © Helen Jones-Florio – on assignment with Jason Florio for NGO Concern Universal in Casamance, Senegal

 

If you would like to receive the odd updates from us, then just add your email address to the box in the lefthand column.

More news coming soon.

The Florios – Helen & Jason