Tag Archives: Gambia

NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY POSTER - PHOTOGRAPHER/FILMMAKER GUEST SPEAKER MAY 2021

New York Film Academy – Guest Speaker Series: Photojournalist & Filmmaker, Jason Florio

New York Film Academy Guest Speaker Series: Jason Florio, Photojournalist & Filmmaker

Friday, May 21st 12pm E.T./9am P.T.

Click here to register

Jason Florio is an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker, originally from London, based in NYC for 18 years before relocating to The Gambia, West Africa, in 2013. He has produced images and documentaries for clients including The New York Times, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, Outside, Bloomberg, Geographical, MIT Technology Review, and Amnesty International. His focus has been on under-reported stories about people living on the margins of society and human rights. His work has been recognized with a number of awards, including The Magnum Photography Award for his work on migration. His work is held in a number of public and private collections and has been presented in solo and joint exhibitions in the USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jason is represented by Redux Pictures in NYC.

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NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY POSTER - PHOTOGRAPHER/FILMMAKER GUEST SPEAKER MAY 2021
New York Film Academy – NYFA Guest Speaker Series with Photojournalist & Filmmaker, Jason Florio. Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio ‘Gambia-victims, and resisters’

Florio completed the first recorded circumnavigation of The Gambia by foot, co-leading with his wife Helen Jones-Florio – a 930km expedition, producing an award-winning series of portraits titled ‘Silafando’. Three years later he co-led, with Helen, the first recorded expedition of River Gambia from its source in Guinea-Conakry to the Atlantic Ocean, in The Gambia – creating a document of the communities that live along its 1130km course before a planned dam is constructed. He is currently continuing a long-term project in the Gambia documenting the victims of the former government under the dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh.

New York Film Academy Guest Speaker Series: Jason Florio – Register

Portraits for Positive Change exhibition booklet – front cover © Jason Florio
‘Gambia – victims, & resisters’ Portraits for Positive Change exhibition booklet – Images © Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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CURRENT LOCATION: MAY, 2021

 THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

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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

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CURRENT LOCATION: MAY, 2021

 THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

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Portrait of rape survivor, Gambian, Toufah Jallow - raising a fist - sitting in her family home, The Gambia. Black and white Image ©Jason Florio/Helen Jones-Florio

International Women’s Day, 2021

International Women’s Day 2021 – in honor, and respect, of strong women, around the world.

Released today, on #IWD2021 ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’.

In this 25-minute documentary, The Toufah Foundation offers an analysis of the Gambian Truth Commission’s (TRRC) proceedings in regard to sexual and gender-based violence. Using footage from the hearings, Toufah Jallow questions the predominant attitude towards women stories, who most of the time remain unacknowledged or doubted. Parallels are made with other contexts where powerful men raped young women in total impunity for many years, such as Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein and El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord.

‘Gambia – victims, and resisters’

Header Image: survivor of rape (by ex-President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh), and human rights activist, Gambian, Fatou ‘Toufah’ Jallow – raising a fist in solidarity, and strength for all women. Image ©Jason Florio / Helen Jones-Florio, from the ongoing series ‘Gambia-victims, and resisters’

#Portraits4PositiveChange

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CURRENT LOCATION: MARCH, 2021

 THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

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On assignment: Photographer and filmmaker, Jason Florio, photographs a young returnee in her small shop in Bakoteh, The Gambia, West Africa. Image ©Helen Jones-Florio

On Assignment: The Gambia, West Africa – Jason Florio

February, 2021: On assignment in The Gambia. My current project is based around returnees, who left by ‘the backway’ to Libya but who have since returned to home. Documenting them – through film and photography – as they begin to rebuild their lives, with the support of the organisation, Catholic Relief Services.

On Assignment

Image: Rose stands in front of her shop on a busy junction in the Bakoteh area of Gambia. In a few short months, she has already expanded the size of her shop by half. With the income from her shop, she supports her family – including employing her mum to work in the shop and paying for her sister to go to college. (Image of Jason Florio courtesy of Helen Jones-Florio)

See more of Jason Florio’s work on irregular migration:

Destination Europe

Fishers of Men

On board one of the migrant wooden boats - overloaded with 700+ men, women, and children - in the Mediterranean Sea © Jason Florio /MOAS>EU
On board one of the migrant wooden boats – overloaded with 700+ men, women, and children – in the Mediterranean Sea © Jason Florio /MOAS>EU

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CURRENT LOCATION: FEBRUARY-MARCH, 2021

THE GAMBIA, WEST AFRICA

Assignment queries, and image licensing – Contact here

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