Ajani Charles is a professional photojournalist, advertising photographer and cinematographer based in Toronto — the Canadian city famed for its cultural diversity and the creative dynamism of its artistic community.
A graduate of the nationally acclaimed Claude Watson Arts Program, Ajani also apprenticed at the Toronto School of Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and at 235 Films, under many of the talented artists that currently work through the award-winning, Director X-founded production company Popp Rok. The mentoring and rigorous training he received at these institutions fertilized his natural talent, shaping him into a versatile and always evolving artist.
For Ajani the camera is a medium for self-expression and photography the ideal art form for capturing the ineffable beauty of people, objects, and landscapes. Though his images bear the distinctive stamp of his unique regard and sensibility, his work evidences an eclectic panoply of influences which includes Ansel Adams, Alexander Rodchenko, Richard Avedon, Jamel Shabazz, Chi Modu, Nabil Elderkin, André Kertesz, David LaChapelle, Steven Spielberg, Hype Williams, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, and Stan Lee.
Ajani is also the founder of The Visionaries — a Toronto-based photography and cinematography company and educational program, providing mentoring to youth from the city’s priority neighbourhoods.
What’s more, his work has been displayed at the Skills Canada Photographic Skills Competition, where he was awarded a medal for the technical polish of his images as a teenager. His photographs have also been exhibited in such venues as the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art and The New Era Flagship Store, among others.
In addition, Ajani has gained considerable notoriety in the Greater Toronto Area through his first photographic documentary, “Project T Dot” — a visual chronicle of the city’s hip-hop culture and community in its entirety, through a wide-ranging collection of intimate and dramatic black and white photographs, along with words that tell the definitive story of Toronto’s hip-hop history. In production since December of 2006, “Project T Dot” is currently scheduled for a 2018 publication date.
Ajani counts among his many and varied clients H&M, Universal Music Group, Bridgestone, Christian Dior, and the UFC. His work has been featured in publications such as Complex, Jay Z’s Life + Times, Vogue, Flavorwire, and Design You Trust.
Furthermore, he has photographed numerous icons and public figures including the likes of Drake, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Sean Paul, Slash, Kanye West, Gene Simmons, Spike Lee, and Dana White.