Looking back: Gambian photography students learn the art of portraiture with Jason Florio

I just had a conversation with one of my sisters, who told me that my young nephew is about to study photography at school, and that his first powerpoint was going to be about my co-instigator in all things photography (from our expeditionsphotography workshops), Jason Florio.  Looking back, for links on here that might be of interest to my nephew, took me to the ‘Photos Tell Stories: teaching photography – a visual language (P.T.S.s) workshop posts; all about when we held a number of photography workshops, around The Gambia, West Africa (thanks to a grant from the US Embassy, Banjul), with young Gambian students.

We are still so immensely honored to have had the opportunity to hold the workshops, and particularly proud of the level of work our young students produced – despite 99% of them having never even used a camera.

I just wanted to re-share this – especially for my nephew, Harry. Maybe one day, he’ll be the one teaching photography workshops somewhere in West Africa.


Helen Jones-Florio

2014: ‘Photos Tell Stories‘ photography workshop #1: The Kombos region, The Republic of The Gambia, West Africa – students were chosen from various senior secondary schools in the region

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L-R: Aisha, Muhammed N, PTS’s producer, Helen Jones-Florio, Haryat, Ya Ida, MMuhammed S, Kadji, Omar, Lucia, Catherine, Florence © Jason Florio

The students spent most the first day in the classroom with Jason Florio,  P.T.S.’s photographer and tutor,  where he covered the following topics: a brief history of photography; what is a photograph; portraiture; environmental portraiture; reportage; landscape photography (including showing the students images from all of our contributing photographers); guides and techniques; what makes a good photograph; rules of photography (rule of thirds, leading lines, etc.); lighting; editing. Lastly, how the students could share their world through photography.

We then went on to familiarize the students with the digital cameras (thank you to FujiFilm USA for their support):

Image © Jason Florio

The students practice how to capture movement:

Image © Helen Jones-Florio

Following is a selection of work from the  students – on the second day of the workshop – taken during their portraiture class:

Image © Florence Ampong
Image © Aisha P. Njie
Image © Gerald Soweh
Image © Muhanned Njie
Image © Ya Ida Drammeh
Image © Omar Dampha
Image © Muhammed Njie
Image © Muhammed Sinera
Image © Kadjiatou Jawara
Image © Catherine Mahoney
Image © Jason Florio
Image © Omar Dpampha
Image © Gerald Soweh
Image © Lucia Mendy
Image © Ya Ida Drammeh
Image © Aisha P.Njie
Image © Gerald Soweh
Image © Catherine Mahoney
Image © Florence Ampong
Image © Muhammed Sinera
Image @ Kadjotou Jawara

The students with Jason Florio – image © P.T.S.’s workshop producer Helen Jones-Florio

Image © Helen Jones-Florio

To check out our ‘behind-the-scenes‘ album, please visit the ‘Photos Tell Stories’ FB page – where you can see the students and Jason Florio at work, during all the photography workshops.

‘Behind-the-Scenes’ Jason Florio with the Kombos photography workshop students

Next up, we’ll be sharing the students images from ‘HOME’.  After showing the students work from all our contributing photographers – 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 – their assignment was to go and photograph their interpretation of ‘HOME’ . The following day, they returned to the workshop with some very interesting and inspired images. More on that very soon…

Other posts you might be interested in: ‘Teaching the art of portrait photography

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Sonia Pierre -Executive Director of the human rights organization, the Movement for Dominico-Haitian Women (Movimiento de Mujeres Dominico-Haitianas, MUDHA) © Jason Florio

Thank you for stopping by

The Florios (Helen & Jason)

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

in Partnership with US GAMBIA WORK SHOP -300dpi_ FLAT

Fine Photographic Prints – new gallery, incoming…

abdou ndong fisherman with a rescued crocodile 2007
‘Abdou with Rescued Crocodile’ The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio B&W Gallery
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‘Painted Face’ The Gambia, West Africa © Jason Florio – B&W Gallery

I’ve been the Director of Print Sales, for Florio Photo for a number of years now; a project which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. So, when I was approached by another photographer (whose work I admire very much indeed), a few weeks ago, to see if I would be interested in selling his work too, thus, the seedling of an idea was planted… .

‘Sky over Texas’ © Jason Florio – Color Gallery

Suffice to say, the last few weeks have found me working on the idea (with thanks for some much-appreciated advice – and support – from a couple of dear girlfriends, who also just happen to be well-respected New York-based curators/photo editors), checking out various photographers, and building a new stand-alone fine art photography prints gallery site. A boutique gallery, where we will be featuring a select number of very fine photographers.

If you would like to follow our progress, feel free to click  ‘follow‘ (see button at the bottom of the page).

More updates coming soon.


Helen Jones-Florio

HJF_ JF_stefan
Florio & Helen: Sale from the Flat File – Jason Florio’s fine art photography prints – New York, Aug 2015, Image courtesy of Stefan Falke

It’s a Dog’s Life, West Africa

Searching for images on my hard drive back-up, recently, I began to see a pattern – dogs feature prominently, in our various journeys and travels.

Farmers with their dogs, Kedougou, Senegal © Jason Florio, River Gambia Expedition


Kids and Dogs, Djinji, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio – River Gambia Expedition


The guardian of the River Gambia dog, Kedougou, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio River Gambia Expedition


The donkey loving dog (or the dog loving donkey?), Bansang, The Gambia © Jason Florio


‘You are outnumbered, pooch!’ – dog and goat standoff, Kedougou, Senegal © Helen Jones-Florio
Jason Florio chatting with a local with beach dogs, Bijilo.
One of our guides on our walk along the coastline of The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio


And, the dogs who have a piece of my heart – The Gang of Seven:

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‘Chase me, chase me!’ Wolfie and White Tip, Cape Point, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio
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Beware the Crocodiles! These dogs are fearless! Wolfie, Rascal, (Noisey) Nelly, and Kalu (the others are in there somewhere!) – Cape Point, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio


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King of the Pack: Lion, The Gambia, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio cc
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Kalu, the newest edition to the ‘Pack of 7’ (after defecting from the Indian restaurant across the street) © Helen Jones-Florio
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Me with my sentinals Lion, Susie (white dog), and Nelly, Cape Point, The Gambia © Jason Florio/Instagram


Lest we forget… the inimitable, Mr P (a.k.a Poet, Poe, Poetta, the P-sta, P-Diddly…), the dog star of Portobello Road, London. We rescued him when he was two or three years old, and he graced us with his serene presence until he reached the grand old age of 17 or 18.

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R.I.P. Mr P, June 7th 2011. Gone, but never ever forgotten