“I do not care what you do with my photo or my testimony,” concluded Alagie Sonko after the meeting. It is the fact that you came to listen to me that did me the greatest good” Alagie Sonko, the Gambia – Le Monde Afrique / Romain Chanson
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
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 Victims of Human Rights Violations to share their stories and help build international support to bring Jammeh to justice
For three days I did not know who I was…where I was. My clothes, they looked like, you know, like a butchers… (covered in blood) Kafo Bayo
Ya Mammie Ceesay, mother of disappeared Gambian-American businessman Alhaji Mamut Ceesay. Alhaji returned to the Gambia in 2013 with his friend Ebou Jobe to set up a business, but they were allegedly robbed of their money by National Intelligence Agency heads, who later told President Jammeh the businessmen were in the Gambia to overthrow his regime. The two were then allegedly murdered on Jammeh’s command.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words – compelling images & personal accounts at the Gambia Centre for Victims of Human Rights Violations – “Portraits to Remember” exhibition. Sharon Wardle, British High Commissioner to The Gambia
Jason Florio’s work is towards under-reported stories about people living on the margins of society and human rights. His work has been recognised with a number of awards, including The Magnum Photography Award 2017 for his work on migration. He was the first recipient of the Aperture Foundation grant to produce Aperture’s first ever assigned story, ‘This is Libya’. His work is held in a number of public and private collections and has been presented in solo and joint exhibitions in USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Available for assignments & for image licensing – Contact here
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
“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