On a recent film and photography trip to The Gambia, I met up with Jason Florio, who divides his time between Africa, the Mediterranean, America and the UK. I’d heard of his work through a mutual friend, so the chance to interview Jason about his work covering the migrant crisis, end of a dictator’s rule in West Africa and other stories was an opportunity I grasped with both hands. I expected to meet a man who may be guarded or understandably suspicious of those who may want to interview him as some photojournalists can be; the result of what they have been a witness to, reticent to reveal their subjects in a style or light they had not intended. What or rather who I met, was very different. I found an affable, generous, open man, keen to share his stories for a podcast I wanted to record about his work in photojournalism… Neale James / Breathe Pictures
Gambia portraits – Ebrima Jabang, age 64, was arrested along with the opposition activist, Solo Sandeng, during the April 14th 2016 peaceful protest for electoral reform. He was taken to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) headquarters, tied face down on a table and tortured by Yahya Jammeh’s personal hit squad, the Junglers, permanently losing the sight in is right eye among other internal injuries. Jabang said that he could hear the screams of Solo Sandeng, who was being tortured in another room. Sandeng died on the same day, as a result of being tortured.
A Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) began in January 2019, in The Gambia, to investigate ex-president, Yahya Jammeh’s, 22-year authoritarian rule whereby mass human rights violations took place. A momentous, and historical, time for the Gambia, and Gambians to be able to speak so freely once again. For the past two years, we have had the privilege of being able to photograph and film the testimonies of victims, and resisters of the Jammeh regime