‘Stelle Del Mare’ –The people, they arrive to you early seeking your silky salty comfort. Some are old men who trace the sign of the cross on their chests before submerging into you, some are looking to you to hide their inhibitions and sexual gamings, some are drunks seeking solace from an all-nighter. You do not discriminate and welcome all.
I have spent years on the road attempting to tell the stories of others. In this time of COVID ‘lockdowns’ and seemingly unending up-endings of our lives, I have needed to slip into a more contemplative state; looking for a less literal and more visceral form of storytelling. This new ongoing series of ‘postcards’ from our Malta window and close by, onto the Mediterranean sea was born of the subconscious – a speechless full moon that nudges my conscious minds-eye to react – but whatever story there might be in the frame, is open to imagination, interpretation and meditation…Jason Florio – photographer/filmmaker
…To follow the full story on Afghanistan (from my previous trip in 2000) we knew we also need it to head to the north-east to meet the Taliban opposition, the Northern Alliance, who controlled that portion of the country. This we could not do until a year later in August 2001.
Our first attempt to cross the border from Pakistan to the Northern Alliance area disguised as women wearing full covering burqas failed. We then spent the next three weeks organizing a ride into the country via Tajikistan on a Russian helicopter operated by the Northern Alliance… Jason Florio read/see more
19 years ago, September 2001, I was in Afghanistan with Pepe Escobar. On returning to my home in New York City I got the news on Sept 10th that Commander Ahmed Shah Massoud – ‘The Lion of the Panjshir’ (header image) – who we had recently been a guest of, had been assassinated by Al Qaeda operatives posing at journalists. The following day I was standing next to the Twin Towers, in Lower Manhattan as they collapsed…
My journey to the Taliban-controlled region of Afghanistan in August 2000 was in fact not planned. I was on my way to Kashmir to follow the ‘jihad trail’ when I got a call to join my colleague and writer Pepe Escobar, who was working on jihad stories on the Pakistan-Afghan border – he said: “This is (Afghanistan) where it’s really happening…”.
Crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border by foot at the Khyber pass we spent two weeks driving through the heart of Taliban-Afghanistan to try and get a clear understanding of who the Taliban were and how they held such sway over the populace. We felt we had dropped through a tear in the space-time fabric to the surreal land of corrupted ancient ideologies spouted from the mouths kohl-eyed men driving brand-new Toyota 4×4’s, where photography was outlawed – and because of which, we were arrested on two occasions… Jason Florio – read / see more images floriophoto.com
On the Vodun Trail – Vodun practitioners in Benin worship a pantheon of gods and lesser deities that inhabit objects ranging from stones to waterfalls. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors dwell among them, and they employ talismans, or “fetishes” like dried animal parts, for spiritual and physical rejuvenation as well as for protection against spells cast by malevolent sorcerers.
“Le vodun is Africa. It is the faith of our ancestors,” I was told by Dagbo Hounon Houna II, the spiritual chief of vodun in Benin, where 20 percent of the population, or a million people, practice pure vodun and another 40 percent embrace a form that incorporates Christian iconography. A retired civil servant in his 50s, he received me in a rondavel, a circular hut, inside a compound on the outskirts of Ouidah…