I met Jason Florio (‘Flo’) on a trip to The Gambia in 2007, while covering an eco tourism story for the Independent on Sunday.
He was a freelance photojournalist with a ‘boy’s own’ adventure of a life that involved being paid to travel, photograph and document human interest stories, anywhere from Afghanistan to Libya, India to Cuba.
People like that can be bloody annoying – if they’re not making you green with envy, they’re killing your own stories with their oneupmanship. But it’s fair to say that everyone on that Gambia trip hung on Flo’s tales of adventure.
Five years on and with media budgets slashed, Flo’s freelance travel journalism has, like mine, become increasingly inviable.
But you can’t stop someone with a passion. And, as good reportage costs money, Jason is fundraising for his next expedition in his beloved Gambia by selling fine art prints which he will create along the journey.
It is a chance to become invested in an expedition which sees Flo, his wife Helen and a local expedition team travel 1000km from the source of the River Gambia to the sea, mapping “an historical – visual /audio/written – document of the peoples, cultures and environment along one of Africa’s last, free flowing, major rivers”. Not only is there the opportunity to invest in the expedition and in fine art photography, but in local guides and their extended families, and in funding professional travel photojournalism.
I’ve donated some funds and looking forward both to being involved in this expedition vicariously and to receiving an undoubtedly beautiful photograph that documents it.
For the full story and how to donate, visit the expedition website. Meanwhile I’ve cheekily borrowed a fine art image from Flo’s previous expedition photographs, so you can see an example of his work.