Exhibition – photographs of The Gambia by Gambians + a projection of images by Jason Florio

Photos Tell Stories‘  exhibition

photographs of The Gambia by Gambians

Opens Friday May 16th – 6-9pm – at Alliance Française, Kairaba Avenue, The Gambia, West Africa.

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With thanks, as always, to our main partners, the US Embassy, Banjul, we are delighted to host the forthcoming exhibition of around 60 prints (thanks to AdoramaPix, NY for their support) from our young Gambian  Photos Tell Stories photography workshop students.

Also, on the opening night, we’ll be projecting images from three other major West Africa projects – images by PTS’s tutor and award-winning photographer Jason Florio – from ‘River Gambia‘, (1044km source-sea African odyssey) ‘Silafando‘ (A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush), and ‘Makasutu – mecca in the forest‘:

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We had some great support for Photos Tell Stories – all of whom made the inaugural photography workshops in The Gambia possible. So, with thanks to all our partners and contributors:

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We also had some phenomenal  – and truly inspiring for our Gambian students –  images to share throughout all the workshops, thanks to a highly accomplished bunch of professional photographers:

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During the opening night, we’ll be screening our short film from ‘River Gambia‘, footage taken during our 1044km source-sea journey – from the source of the mighty African river in the Fouta Djallon Highlands of Guinea-Conakry, into Senegal, and onto where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean in The Gambia.

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Click on image to view River Gambia film


We look forward to welcoming you all to the opening night, Friday 16th May. However, if you can’t make it, we will be posting photos galore from the event. If you want us to keep you updated, please subscribe to the blog (lefthand column), ‘like’ our FB page, or follow us on twitter


The Florios – Helen & Jason

Flo_HJF Alliance Francaise


Silicon Institute, Soma, The Gambia – ‘Photos Tell Stories’ students receive their photography workshop certificates

‘Photos Tell Stories’ students receive their workshop certificates Silicon Institute, Soma, The Gambia, West Africa

We have just returned from a very productive couple of days in the up-country regions of The Gambia, where we took ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language on the road. And, the students we taught have produced some incredible images, of which we will share with you all on here very soon – once we have put an edit together. Speaking of editing…

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Jason Florio edits the Soma Institute students work – to show during the night program (thanks to QCell for the their contribution of the USB dongle and router – being constantly connected has made our job so much easier!) © Helen Jones-Florio . 
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BIG thanks to Foto Care, NYC, we able to give every ‘Photos Tell Stories‘ workshop student a thumb drive to save their images on © Helen Jones-Florio

After each of  1-day ‘Photos Tell Stories’ workshops, in the evening  the US Embassy Banjul team (our main partners – special thanks to Josh Shrager, Papa Njie!) would set up their cinema-sized inflatable screen in a main area of the village or town. In Soma we had a great program – projecting the students work onto the screen for all to see.

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Soma comes out to see the Silicon Institute’s students photography – projected onto a cinema-sized inflatable screen. Images © Jason Florio

soma night shot

Using the sound system from the embassy,  and DJ’ing West African vibes courtesy of one of our students – Alhasan Bah ( from the Silicon Institute), people were dancing and cheering throughout the screening – it was quite the celebration! We felt very humbled to have played a part in the excitement of the students seeing their images up there on the screen.

When the music stopped, we then screened our River Gambia Expedition footage. The audience seemed fascinated by the moving  images of their country –  along with Senegal and Guinea-Conakry –  portrayed on the huge screen.  I think we could have gone on all night!

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

Check out the Silicon institute PTS’s workshop students images here

The Florios (Helen & Jason)

In partnership Fotwith the US Embassy, Banjul, The Gambia (tote bag design by ‘Jekkah’ Gambia)

What it’s all about – photography workshops

cropped-photos-tell-stories-gambia_72dpi.jpgteaching photography – a visual language

Inaugural ‘Photos Tell Stories‘ Photography Workshop

The Gambia, West Africa. December 2013

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio, Photoville, NY, 2013. Image © Chris Bartlett

Award-winning Photographer: Jason Florio

Workshop Producer: Helen Jones-Florio

In partnership with the U.S. Embassy, Banjul, The Gambia

In January 2013, when resting in The Gambia, upon completion of our second expedition – ‘River Gambia Expedition-1055km source-sea African odyssey‘ (the first : ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey‘ 2009), we had the great fortune to meet the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Embassy, Banjul – the capital of The Gambia – Josh Shrager.

‘Man on Bonto Pier’- taken whilst on ‘River Gambia Expedition‘ © Jason Florio
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Youtube: ‘River Gambia’ – footage © Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio. Click on image or here to view
'Silafando' - a gift to you on behalf of my journey
Alkalo (village chief) Landing Jammeh, Kalaji, The Gambia – ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey’ Image © Jason Florio

After talking with length at Josh, we discovered that we all had a mutual love of photography and, almost one year later, the result of that serendipitous meeting – because we had previously discussed the idea of photography workshops in West Africa – is that we are now back in The Gambia, to teach our first photography workshop to a number of young Gambian students.

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Jason Florio with school children in the Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea © Helen Jones-Florio

For our inaugural workshop, we will be teaching an introduction to photography to students from the ages of 14-19 years old – focusing on how to use the camera as a means of visual storytelling. The workshop will also be a cultural exchange – through exposing Gambian students to the work of international professional photographers and, in turn, showing the world how young Gambian’s see their country. Along with Jason presenting his work, we are honored to have a number of very accomplished photographers, whose work we greatly admire, who have contributed images : Manjari Sharma; Amber Terranova; Amy Toensing; Sari Goodfriend; Ryan Heffernan; Ben Lowy; Stefan Falke; Oskar Landi; Thomas Donley; Brandon Remler; Wayne Lawrence; Chris Bartlett; Robert Goldstein; Henry Jacobson; Heloise Bergman

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Helen with the school kids of the Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conakry © Jason Florioo

In the classroom, through slideshow presentations and discussion, we’ll be covering a number of topics, including : a history of photography, digital camera operation, photography techniques, composition, and editing. On a practical level, the students will be given assignments to complete – the main one being ‘Home – the way I see it. As an example to aid the Gambian students with this  assignment, we asked each of our professional photographers to provide us with images on the same theme. We received a incredibly diverse cross section of images from them – some very literal, others not so literal. More on that soon.

At the end of the daily workshops the students will have the opportunity to share their images with the whole village, projected  onto a giant six meter inflatable screen – courtesy of the U.S Embassy – along with the work of our contributing professional photographers.

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Helen and  village children of the Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conakry © Jason Florio

Jason has a long and successful career as a photographer and much of what he particularly enjoys shooting is portraiture, which he will be teaching as part of the workshop.

'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.

Access to the internet in The Gambia  has grown exponentially over the last few years and, due to this, almost all of the kids we meet these days are using some kind of social media platform (such as Facebook) – it used to be that when we met kids on our travels here they wanted to give you their postal address, and vice versa. However, now the mantra is ‘will you be my Facebook friend?’ Therefore, we’ll be guiding the students on how to effectively use social media networks – as well as the power of blogging – to share their stories

The workshop will culminate in an exhibition and gala event, where the students work will be displayed through projection and print, to an invited audience – including family, friends and local dignitaries. Following the event, we hope to find an exhibition space to open the exhibit to the general public, inviting other students and their teachers from around the country to come along and view the work – and to talk to them about the possibility of participating in future photography workshops.

Further thanks…

Aside from our contributing photographers, we also wish to thank our partners in this venture, particularly to Josh Shrager – Public Affairs Officer/Acting Political and Economic Affairs Officer – and all at the U.S. Embassy, Banjul, for giving us the opportunity to make this workshop happen:


FujiFilm, USA; powerHouse Books, USA; Gambia Experience, UK; Foto Care, USA; Jekkah – African inspire clothing, The Gambia; Protronica Ltd, UK; SOL Laptops, Canada. See more here

We’ll be updating as regularly as a decent internet connection will allow us. To avoid missing what we’re up to, you can always subscribe to the blog (click on ‘Follow’ on the left hand column); ‘like’ our new ‘Photos Tells Stories’ FB page; follow us on twitter.

Here in The Gambia, we may well find the next Malick Sidibé

More news soon on the the start date for the workshops.

Jason & Helen

To find out more ‘about the Florios‘ please click on the link.

To view more of Jason Florio’s photography, please visit floriophoto.com

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Girl in the Mask © Jason Florio – River Gambia Expedition

Please contact : helen.jones@floriophoto.com for more information about partnering and/or participation in future photography workshops.