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‘Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime’ – Portraits by Jason Florio



Gambia – Victims, and Resisters of a Regime


Gambia Victims and Resisters – Joy Conker Sonko was targeted by a Yahya Jammeh supporting policewoman when she was 14 years old because her family was supporters of the government opposition UDP party. She was dragged from her family home, beaten, and her head smashed against a car and then detained in a cell, without arrest, for 4 days… see more of this work-in-progress at floriophoto.com.


From 1994 -2017 President Yahya Jammeh ruled the Gambia, West Africa, as his own personal fiefdom, crushing dissent, and opposition, with brutality.

His personal hit squad and intelligence agency carried out tortures, and assassinations with impunity – journalists were gunned down and disappeared, ministers were jailed, students shot in cold blood, and even his own brother and sister were murdered on his orders.

With Jammeh’s 2016 election defeat, he went into exile after a standoff with regional forces, and the victims of his regime started to come forward.


So far, over 1000 victims and their families have registered with the Gambia Centre for Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice

This is a work in progress in collaboration with the GCHRV.


Gambia Victims and Resisters – Sankung Bilajo was one of over a thousand elders abducted on the orders of the former Gambian president, Yahya Jammeh in 2009. Groups of Jammeh’s paramilitary troops along with his youth brigade, The Green Boys and ‘magicians’ from Guinea went from village to village as part of a nationwide hunt for witches. The alleged witches were held for up to five days in secret locations and made to drink ‘Kubehjaro’, a hallucinogenic substance, and then forced to confess to witchcraft. Some were also severely beaten and robbed by their captors… see more at:

Portraits Gambia Victims Jason Florio


Please check out my GoFundMe page to see more about this series and how you can help to be part of #Portraits4PositiveChange. 

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful 2019

Jason Florio

Available for assignments – Contact here

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels – Instagram

Jason Florio – Vimeo

floriophotoNYC – Twitter

Jason Florio/Photojournalist – FB

New York City-Malta: Photographers, Jason Florio & Reza Deghati meet up after 20 years

New York-Vallletta, Malta - Photographers and Jason Florio and Reza Deghati meet again after 20 years

Photographers Reza Deghati and Jason Florio meet again after 20 years. Image courtesy of Helen Jones-Florio, Valletta, Malta, July 2018


July 2018: Jason Florio, currently in Malta

Photographers, Jason Florio & Reza Deghati – Almost 20 years ago, whilst I was still trying to break out of assisting, I was fortunate to have dinner with legendary National Geographic photographers David Alan Harvey and Reza Deghati, in NYC. A life-affirming conversation with them gave me the confidence to pursue the path of photojournalism, that I was just starting to tread upon. Today, here in Malta (when he presented and exhibited his project, ‘Exile Voices‘), after all these years, I had the beautiful opportunity to meet Reza again – and let him know that his and David’s words had a profound impact on my life. It’s been a crazy journey at times, but the one which I feel blessed to be on…

Taschakor, Reza! Great to see you … let’s not wait another 20 years!! JF


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

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


One of the first assignments, as a photojournalist, after that inspiring meeting in NYC with Reza and David, took me to Afghanistan (more than once, over the years)

An Afghan Diary

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…”. read more on my website

Jason Florio

Currently in Malta – covering Europe and Africa


@jasonflorio / @ floriotravels – Instagram

floriotravels – Vimeo

Jason Florio/Photojournalist – FB




Instagram Takeover: Smithsonian Magazine- Rhino Relocation. Images ©Jason Florio


Rhinos are darted before being transported (Rhino relocation) South Africa - image ©Jason Florio / Smithsonian Magazine, June 2018 edition

‘Movable Beast’ – Rhinos are darted before being transported – image ©Jason Florio / Smithsonian Magazine, 2018

Instagram Takeover – Jason Florio

Starting Saturday 16-Friday 22 June 2018, I’ve been invited by Smithsonian Magazine to take over their Instagram page for a week (huge thanks, Smithsonian!)

I was commissioned by Smithsonian (via my NYC agent, Redux Pictures). for an assignment in South Africa – ‘Movable Beast‘ – a story about the largest rhino relocation, by road, in history from South Africa to Botswana, working with the writer, Todd Pitock.

'Movable Beast' Smithsonian Magazine, June 2018 image © Jason Florio

‘Movable Beast’ Smithsonian Magazine, June 2018 – image © Jason Florio

So often with magazine assignments, a limited number of images, out of hundreds shot, that make it to the pages of the magazine. Therefore, this Instagram takeover is a great opportunity to share some of my favourites, exclusively, over the next week, that did not make it to the printed page.

I do hope that you can stop by – starting from tomorrow, Saturday 16th June – and check out my images @smithsonianmagazaine

Jason Florio 

Photographer, Jason Florio - image courtesy of Helen Jones-Florio

Jason Florio – image courtesy of Helen Jones-Florio

@jasonflorio / @floriotravels – Instagram
 @floriophotoNYC – Twitter
floriotravels – Vimeo