living within a two-mile radius of where I was staying, out in the bush, in the West African Republic of The Gambia. Having to work sparingly with my materials, I decided to make no more than two exposures per subject with my 8×10 view camera.
The subjects seemingly became oblivious to me as they created a very personal relationship with the camera. They would shift from side to side, testing different expressions, as I stood a little away from the camera to make my exposure with a long shutter release cord, so as not to interfere with this fleeting relationship that unfolded in front of me. I tried to make the exposure when I felt they were between preconceived expressions, feeling this was when they were free of an assumed character and as close to their true nature as I would find, making it in my mind the most honest view
Often re-photographing the same people, continuing silent relationships through the camera. The portraits unlike some of my work in Afghanistan and elsewhere are not taken surreptitiously. The subject is compliant and aware of the situation. I like this honesty that I have found in this ongoing body. It is liberating to create such a relationship with the subject, even though often silent. Therefore, it is for that reason I continue to return.
The area of land from which I work has become the title for the project ‘Makasutu’. Makasutu in the local Mandinko language means ‘Mecca in the forest‘, and for me, it became a place of personal pilgrimage. And, most of all, a place to retreat and communicate through my medium in an unfiltered manner.” JF
Pigment prints on Hahnemühle archival glossy fine art photographic paper.
Buy Prints – everything you need to know + prices, sizes, and editions
We have curated a selection of the ‘Makasutu‘ portraits here on the gallery site. To view the complete series please visit Jason Florio’s website floriophoto.com – Contact contact the gallery for sales queries
‘Clouds & Sea’ Cuba
10×10 Instagram Prints Shop – Limited Edition
Is an award-winning fine art, and documentary photographer, British-born, living between New York, West Africa, and Malta. A FRGS (Fellow of The Royal Geographical Society, London), Florio’s work has focused on under-reported stories of people living on the margins of society and in places of conflict... Read more in 'About the Photographers'
'Not only have I watched Jason grow in stature as a photographer, but I have seen an incredible drive and a focused direction grow as well. Jason is now a multi-award winning photographer who has shown in museums and galleries' - Stella Kramer, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor and creative consultant, NYC
'Jason Florio's work is breath-taking! I've used his photography in my favorite projects, and his pieces steal the show! Helen Jones-Florio is so great to work with and I highly recommend!' - Amanda Hark, Hark+Osbourne Interior Design