photography

West African men punt a raft carrying a water pump, River Gambia, Senegal © Jason Florio

Podcast: Rogue Hippos! & Photographing During a Dictatorshop – Jason Florio

Podcast: Rogue Hippos! & Photographing During a Dictatorshop – Jason Florio talks with Neale James/The Photography Daily Show, about living and working in The Gambia, West Africa.

Podcast: Rogue Hippos! & Photographing During a Dictatorshop – Jason Florio

Today two stories featuring humanitarian photojournalist Jason Florio. In the first we talk about a photo expedition he took with his wife and business partner Helen Jones-Florio along the Gambia River, which sounds beautifully romantic and exotic in equal measure, but doesn’t come without its wildlife challenges as you’re about to find out. And then in part two of our conversation, we discuss moving to Africa, living initially under a regime that didn’t encourage open documentary work or journalism or indeed anyone who might want to talk of uncomfortable truths in a country which has the motto, progress, peace and prosperity. Listen to the podcast at The Photography Daily Show

A woman checks her traps on the River Gambia, Senegal, in the early hours of the morning, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio
A migrant fisherwoman checks her traps on the River Gambia, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Jason Florio
River Gambia Expedition – 10044km source-sea African odyssey
Podcast: Rogue Hippos! & Photographing During a Dictatorshop – Jason Florio
'Gambia-victims, and resisters' AKJ was shot by Gambian security forces during a student protest in 2000. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
‘Gambia-victims, and resisters’ AKJ was shot by Gambian security forces during a student protest in 2000. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

“We want answers and we want justice, and we will not give up until those who are responsible are held accountable.” Nana-Jo Ndow, human rights activist and founder of ANEKED, whose father was murdered by Yahya Jammeh’s security forces

CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021:Nana-Jo Ndow, daughter of Saul Ndow, holding a picture of her father who, in 2013, was forcibly disappeared from Senegal by Gambian security forces and murdered ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio
(LEFT) Nana-Jo Ndow, daughter of Saul Ndow, holding a picture of her father who, in 2013, was forcibly disappeared from Senegal, along with Mahawa Cham, former Gambian MP. Witness testimonies revealed that they had been abducted and taken over the border into The Gambia, where they were both killed by Jammeh’s security forces in Jammeh’s home village. “We want answers and we want justice, and we will not give up until those who are responsible are held accountable.” (RIGHT) One of three crocodile pools in former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh’s home village. It is alleged that a number of Jammeh’s victms were dropped into local wells and some thrown to the crocodiles to destroy the evidence.Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
#Portraits4PositiveChange
WATCH: ‘River Gambia Expedition – 1044km source-sea African odyssey‘. Footage ©Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Huge thanks to Neale James at the Photography Daily Show for inviting me to share our West Africa experiences.

JF

floriophoto.com

For assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

error
The Gambia-ITC-Creative Industries. A group of photographers and filmmakers attending their first Masterclass with photographer and film maker, Jason Florio, May 2021. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

The Gambia: Storytelling Masterclass with Photographer & Filmmaker, Jason Florio, for the Creative Industries programme

Photography | Filmmaking | Production

The Gambia-ITC-Creative Industries. A group of photographers and filmmakers attending their first Masterclass with photographer and film maker, Jason Florio, May 2021. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
The Gambia-ITC-Creative Industries/Andandorr Programme’s first Masterclass with photographer and film maker, Jason Florio, May 2021. Image courtesy Isatou Jallow/ITC, The Disruptive Lab, Fajara.

The Gambia: Storytelling Masterclass, 18th May 2021 marked the launch of a 5+ month project with the International Trading Centre /Creative Industries as part of the Andandorr Programme. We will be working closely with established photographers, and filmmakers, incorporating Masterclasses, one-one mentoring, workshops, skills enhancement, assignments, and exhibitions.

Photographer & Filmmaker, Jason Florio, sets up the screen with his work, in preparation for his first Storytelling Masterclass, The Gambia. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio
Photographer & Filmmaker, Jason Florio, prepares for his first Storytelling Masterclass, The Gambia. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

We are excited to get going with the Creatives! More news to follow soon, as we progress.

Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio

Photography | Filmmaking | Production

For assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

Header Image ©Helen Jones-Florio, Storytelling Masterclass, at The Disruptive Lab, Gambia

Photographers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio - portrait courtesy Joanna Demarco, The Gambia, West Africa
Photographers, Jason Florio & Helen Jones-Florio – portrait courtesy Joanna Demarco, The Gambia, West Africa

error
CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST: 'Gambia-victims, and resisters' Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST: ‘Gambia-victims, and resisters’ by Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST: We are truly honoured to be on the CAP Prize shortlist – The Contemporary African Photography Prize – with our ongoing series, ‘Gambia-victims, and resisters

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

The Gambia, West Africa, is a popular winter-sun holiday destination, but many tourists are not aware of the recent dark history of ‘The Smiling Coast of Africa’ – as it is fondly known. From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled The Gambia as his fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition with brutality. His hit squad, the ‘Junglers’ and National Intelligence Agency carried out tortures, assassinations, and acts of sexual violence with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, students shot in cold blood, and even his cousins were murdered on his order.

CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST: Ballo Kanteh, an ex-political prisoner shows the burns he suffered after melted plastic was dripped onto his skin by Jammeh's hit-squad, the Junglers. Kanteh spent 18-year detention at Mile 2 prison . Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio
CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST – (Left) Ballo Kanteh, an ex-political prisoner shows the burns he suffered after melted plastic was dripped onto his skin by Jammeh’s hit-squad, the Junglers. Kanteh spent 18-year detention at Mile 2 prison. For the first two years, he was held in solitary confinement in a pitch dark cell, which has permanently damaged his eyesight. (Right) Maximum security wing, Mile 2 Prison, The Gambia. Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST

Having worked and lived on and off in The Gambia since 1998, Helen Jones-Florio, my wife and collaborator, and I were personally aware of former President Yahya Jammeh’s control over society. It was not until Jammeh fled into exile in January 2017, after an astonishing election defeat, did the litany of violations under his regime start to come to light. The Gambia has been our second home and we felt it was our duty as documentarians to give face and voice to the victims, survivors, and their families. Despite hundreds of testimonies by both victims and perpetrators at the ongoing Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), many Jammeh loyalists are still in denial of the crimes, he and his cadre are now being accused of. Making it important to keep bringing the victims’ stories to public attention. 

#GambiaHasDecided

“I was taken downstairs. They covered my eyes and I felt an injection in my back, like a big staple gun, and then I felt something enter my system…burning me inside. I was screaming, shouting, calling to Allah for help. They started to beat me with a piece of hard rubber, kicked me, punched me…I thought, I am now dead”. Pa Ousman Njie

CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021: PA Ousman Njie sitting in his taxi - April 14th 2016 and arrested by the former president, Yahya Jammeh’s, security forces. He was taken to the National Intelligence Agency and tortured. Image ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio
CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021 – (Right) Pa Ousman Njie was driving his taxi when he was innocently caught up in a demonstration by the UDP opposition party on April 14th 2016 and arrested by the former president, Yahya Jammeh’s, security forces. He was taken to the National Intelligence Agency. (Left) Darkened streets, The Gambia. Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Since 2017, we have photographed over one-hundred-and-twenty portraits, and sites of violations, and recorded video testimonies.

When one of the soldiers used his cutlass to cut off Adamo’s shoulder and the blood is flowing all over the place…I think we realized then, that the soldiers wanted to kill us all.” Martin Kyere, sole survivor of the 2005 massacre in The Gambia of over 50 West African migrants

CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021:Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, is the sole survivor of the 2005 massacre in The Gambia of over 50 West African migrants, trying to get to Europe. . Images ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio
CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021 – (Left) Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, is the sole survivor of the 2005 massacre in The Gambia of over 50 West African migrants, trying to get to Europe. Ghanaian, Martin Kyere, is the sole survivor, in 2005, of the massacre of over 50 West African migrants, who were endeavouring to reach Europe. “When one of the soldiers used his cutlass to cut off Adamo’s his shoulder and the blood is flowing all over the place…I think we realized then, that the soldiers wanted to kill us all.” They were all killed on orders of President Yahya Jammeh, fearing that they were coup plotters. (Right) In 2005 over 50 West African migrants were killed by Gambian security forces. A number of bodies, hacked to pieces were found dumped in a forest near a beach popular with tourists.

#Portraits4PositiveChange

Our work aims to expose the wide-reaching forms and scale of abuse – to create a historical archive and to be used as a tool for advocacy and public awareness. Early in the project, we came to understand that many people who sat for the portraits found it cathartic, having previously not been able to openly tell their stories, and so our work took on additional and profound meaning and made it a collaborative process. Alagie Sonko, falsely imprisoned by the regime, said to us “I don’t care what you do with my picture or my story, but the fact you came and listened to me, that is enough”

CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021: Sunkary Yarboe, first wife of Lt Basiru Barrow, who was executed during November 11th 1994, alleged coup attempt. Twenty four years later, April 2019
CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST – (left) Sunkary Yarboe, first wife of Lt Basiru Barrow, who was executed during November 11th 1994, alleged coup attempt. Twenty four years later, April 2019, witness statements led forensic experts to search Yundum Barracks. Basiru’s remains were exhumed, from a mass unmarked grave. “I still do not have his body from the exhumation. I will feel very bad about that, forever. The pain is always there without a body, to bury. We are crying, there is no justice, the men who killed Basiru are still on the streets.” (Right) In 2019, witness testimonies at the Truth Reconciliation Reparations Commission revealed what happened in 1994 Basiru’s remains were exhumed from a mass unmarked grave in Yundum Barracks along with cables that were used to retrain them. Sunkary is still waiting for his remains to be released, so she can bury him. Images ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

Alagie Sonko, falsely imprisoned by the regime, during is interview, said to us “I don’t care what you do with my picture or my story, but the fact you came and listened to me, that is enough”.

CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021: Isatou Marong, widow of Sergeant Basiru Camera. On November 11th, 1994, Basiru, along with almost two dozen other soldiers, were tortured, and executed by fellow soldiers loyal to Yahya Jammeh, accused of an attempted coup . Images ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio
CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST – (Left) Isatou Marong, widow of Sergeant Basiru Camera. On November 11th, 1994, Basiru, along with almost two dozen other soldiers, were tortured, and executed by fellow soldiers loyal to the Junta, accused of attempting a coup. “I did not know what had happened to him. For years, I searched all over the Gambia, going from place to place. No answers, no clues… just rumours. I thought he was still alive, somewhere. I went to all the prisons in the country.” (Right) In 2019, witness testimonies at the Truth Reconciliation Reparations Commission revealed what happened in 1994 “That was the day I knew he was dead, that it is real, my husband is no more”. Basiru’s remains were exhumed, from a mass unmarked grave in Yundum Barracks along with cables that were used to retrain them. Isatou is still waiting for his remains to be released, so she can bury him

CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST

CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021: Fatou 'Toufah' Jallow survivor of rape. ‘Toufah’. The rape ordeal perpetrated by the then-President, Yahya Jammeh. . Images ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio
CAP PRIZE SHORTLIST 2021: (Left) Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow survivor of rape, an ordeal perpetrated by the then-President, Yahya Jammeh. (Right) Yahya Jammeh’s palace, Kanalai, The Gambia. Images ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio

 “The most powerful man in The Gambia, who am I for anybody to listen to, to believe me, and where do I say this, and when do I say it? What do I expect is going to happen? This did not happen…this did not happen…this did not happen…BUT, that is what happened on the night Yahya Jammeh raped me, and how he did it” Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow. Survivor of rape, human rights activist, filmmaker, and writer.

See more at CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST

CAP PRIZE 2021 SHORTLISTED – 25 PROJECTS

floriophoto.com

CURRENT LOCATION: MAY, 2021

 THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

error
Displaced Persons, Panjshir Valley Arrival into the Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan from Tajikistan with Northern Alliance fighters ©Jason Florio

An Afghan Diary, 2000 & 2001. Images ©Jason Florio

An Afghan Diary: For those of who have had the privilege to have spent time in Afghanistan, I am sure all hearts go out to the extraordinary people who are on the verge of facing another surge of uncertainty as the US troops prepare to leave on Sept 11 2021. Jason Florio

An Afghan Diary – 2000 & 2001

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…”.

An Afghan Diary, 2000 & 2001. Children playing on destroyed Russian tank, Panjshir Valley, AfghanistanBlack and white Images ©Jason Florio
An Afghan Diary, 2000 & 2001: Children playing on destroyed Russian tank, Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan. Image ©Jason Florio

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.

To follow the full story on Afghanistan 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.

Gender Equality Afghanistan - Secret Home School for Girls - image © Jason Florio
An Afghan Diary, 2000 & 2001: Secret Home School for Girls, Afghanistan. Image ©Jason Florio

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.

9/11

August 2001 I went to Afghanistan to photograph a war, all was quiet. I returned to my home in Greenwich Village, New York City on September 5th. Six days later the war came to me. JF

Being in the north-east was like being in Shangri-La compared to our time with the Taliban. We worked fairly freely and were eventually granted an interview with the legendary commander, Ahmed Shah Massoud. Despite our two successful Afghan journeys, we felt that the world at the end of August 2001 the media cared little about what was happening in this harsh land.

An Afghan Diary, 2000 & 2001.Women in burqa's, wearing fancy Chinese plastic shoes, Faizabad, Afghanistan Black and white Images ©Jason Florio
An Afghan Diary, 2000 & 2001. Women in burqa’s, wearing fancy Chinese plastic shoes, Faizabad. Images ©Jason Florio

floriophoto.com

CURRENT LOCATION: APRIL, 2021

 THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

error