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Community Corner

Author: Libby

As a company, we strive to make a difference in the world by producing people’s visions and art works. We are proud to be a sponsor of  the exhibition called ‘Photos Tell Stories’ :Images displayed by Gambian Photography Students.
The exhibition is the idea of  Award-winning Photographer: Jason Florio and Workshop Producer: Helen Jones-Florio in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, Banjul, The Gambia.  It is the culmination of the Photos Tell Stories photography workshops, to showcase the amazing, and truly inspiring, photography produced by Gambian students – from Fajara, Kembujeh, Kartong, Farafenni, and Soma.   Jason and Helen tell us how they came upon the idea.
In January 2013, when resting in The Gambia, upon completion of our second expedition – ‘River Gambia Expedition-1055km source-sea African odyssey‘ (the first : ‘A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush-930km African odyssey‘ 2009), we had the great fortune to meet the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Embassy, Banjul – the capital of The Gambia – Josh Shrager.
After talking with length at Josh, we discovered that we all had a mutual love of photography and, almost one year later, the result of that serendipitous meeting – because we had previously discussed the idea of photography workshops in West Africa – is that we are now back in The Gambia, to teach our first photography workshop to a number of young Gambian students.
For our inaugural workshop, we taught an introduction to photography to students from the ages of 14-19 years old – focusing on how to use the camera as a means of visual storytelling. The workshop also included a cultural exchange – through exposing Gambian students to the work of international professional photographers and, in turn, showing the world how young Gambian’s see their country.
In the classroom, through slideshow presentations and discussion, we covered a number of topics, including : a history of photography, digital camera operation, photography techniques, composition, and editing. On a practical level, the students were given assignments to complete – the main one being ‘Home – the way I see it‘.
At the end of the daily workshops the students  now have the opportunity to share their images with the whole village, projected  onto a giant six meter inflatable screen – courtesy of the U.S Embassy – along with the work of our contributing professional photographers.
Access to the internet in The Gambia  has grown exponentially over the last few years and, due to this, almost all of the kids we meet these days are using some kind of social media platform (such as facebook)– it used to be that when we met kids on our travels here they wanted to give you their postal address, and vice versa. However, now the mantra is ‘will you be my Facebook friend?’Therefore, we’ll also guided the students on how to effectively use social media networks – as well as the power of blogging – to share their stories
The workshop now culminates with an exhibition and gala event, where the students work will be displayed through projection and print, to family, friends and local dignitaries – as well as being open to the general public. Over the two week period that they exhibition is on for, we hope to invite other students, and their teachers, from around the country to come along and view the work – and to talk to them about the possibility of participating in future photography workshops.

The exhibition opens Friday May 16th – 6-9pm – at Alliance Française, Kairaba Avenue, The Gambia, West Africa.