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October 1, 2016Visual Arts,Photography,Culture,Politics,Featured,Cinematography,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles,Documentary
Jamel Shabazz was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of fifteen, he picked up his first camera and started to document his peers. Inspired by photographers Leonard Freed, James Van Der Zee, and Gordon Parks, he was marvelled with their documentation of the African American community.
In 1980, as a concerned photographer with a clear vision, he embarked on a mission to extensively document various aspects of life in New York City, from youth culture to a wide range of social conditions. Due to its spontaneity and uniqueness, the streets and subway system became backdrops for many of his photographs.
Ultimately, his goal was, and still is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture. In the past two decades, he has had over two dozen solo exhibitions, including “Men of Honour”, “A Time Before Crack”, “Pieces of A Man”, “Represent”, "When Two Worlds Meet”, “Back In The Days,” and “Seconds of My Life,” which have been shown around the world, from Argentina to The Netherlands, England, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and throughout the United States.
I first met Jamel in 2009, after learning about the evolution of his photography online (through my friend and colleague, Che Kothari), and developing a sense of respect for his use of the art form.
September 10, 2016Visual Arts,Photography,Culture,Sports,Philosophy,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles,Yoga
I first began working with Claire Fountain of Trill Yoga in February of 2016, and recently shot her this past August, in Manhattan.
She is an amazing person, a fantastic subject to photograph, and the first yogi that I have ever shot.
Since our first photo shoot, and through a number of conversations, I have learned a great deal about her, myself, yoga, psychology, philosophy, writing, entrepreneurship, and many other subjects that overlap in interesting ways.
Otherwise known as CB Quality, Claire is a writer, and personal trainer that fell in love with yoga in her Mississippi hometown, before ever stepping foot on a mat. As a way to overcome her life's obstacles, she began a journey of learning and studying anatomy in order to heal her mind, body, and spirit.
February 1, 2016Company,Culture,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles
A couple of weeks ago, and in collaboration with Gloria Chik of Urbanebloc and Rogue Stories, I was invited to attend the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
My recent trip to Colorado marked many firsts for me; including but not limited to my first time traveling to the mid-western region of the United States, my first time traveling to the Rocky Mountains, and my first time attending a winter driving school.
As we flew across the Rocky Mountains from Chicago, not only was I blown away by the breathtaking views below, but I also experienced an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunities and experiences ahead of me (in Colorado, in 2016, and beyond).
January 12, 2016Visual Arts,Photography,Web,Culture,Sports,Featured,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles
Throughout the Arabian Gulf, camel racing is traditionally known as the sport of the sheiks.
In Qatar specifically, the pastime became a professional sport in 1972, and camel racing fans enjoy the fiercely competitive games each month, at the Al Shahaniya Racetrack.
Located about an hour north of Doha, the racetrack is one of the most popular camel racing tracks in the middle east, and races typically take place on Fridays, from November to February.Read more
December 25, 2015Visual Arts,Photography,Web,Technology,Culture,Featured,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles
When I first travelled to Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park in central China, a few years ago, I had no idea that the trip would be as tumultuous as it was.
Travelling from Chengdu, in Sichuan province, to Jiuzhaigou, was supposedly an eight hour journey, but ended up becoming a very uncomfortable, fifteen hour bus ride.
Firstly, most of our journey to the park including bumper to bumper traffic, so getting there within the projected eight hours was impossible, especially given the geography of the mountainous regions that we were traversing.
Secondly, I was sitting in close proximity to an old Chinese man who had urinated himself at the beginning of our trip, and the smell was unbearable. Fortunately, his trip ended prior to ours, about halfway to the national park.
December 25, 2015Visual Arts,Photography,Culture,Architecture,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles,Inspiration,Travel
During my recent trip to the middle east, one of the most awesome sites that I visited was The Grand Mosque of Qatar, otherwise known as The Abdul Wahhab Mosque.
Located relatively close to Doha, Qatar's downtown core, The Grand Moque is the largest mosque in Qatar, and includes 90 domes, 18 entrances and can hold up to 30,000 people.
Built in 2013, it was named after the 18th century Islamic theologian and inaugurated by the Former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Initially, I was overtaken by the mosque's extravagance and size, and I was impressed by the sheer volume of light fixtures and details within and surrounding its structure.
October 4, 2015Visual Arts,Web,Culture,Music Video,Cinematography,Video
I've had "Feel" by SAFE on replay for the last two months and the record's music video is no less mesmerizing than the song itself.
Indicative of Toronto's cultural diversity, musical prominence and experimentation over the course of the last six years, SAFE is undoubtedly one of my favourite musicians from my hometown.
September 28, 2015Visual Arts,Photography,Web,Design,Culture,History,Architecture,Engineering,Featured,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles
China's Forbidden City is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places that I have ever visited and I hope to explore it again in the near future.
Located in the centre of Beijing and quite accessible by public transportation, the Forbidden City now houses the Palace Museum and served as home to Chinese emperors and their households for about 500 years.
When I first visited the city almost three years ago, I did my best to detach myself from my preconceived notions of its scale and appearance.
August 20, 2015Visual Arts,Photography,Web,Science,Technology,Culture,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles
When the art and science of photography was first invented during the early 1820s, the earliest photographers diverged in two directions -- one group set out to document the world around them in a straightforward manner and the other group aimed to create beautiful surrealistic images that challenged the notion of human perception.
Through their experimentation, the latter group of early photographers discovered double exposure photography by accident and the unique style has persisted ever since.
August 20, 2015Music,Visual Arts,Photography,Web,Culture,Performance,Music Video,Video,Ajani Photography,Ajani Charles
Musicians like Prince, Queen, Guns N' Roses and Michael Jackson dominated the 80s and set the bar unbelievably high for live musical performances.
As such, very few artists that represent my generation have been able to measure up to the superhuman standards that were established during the 1980s and before.
With that said, one of the few songwriting and musical performance anomalies of my generation is undoubtedly Miguel and I didn't truly have an appreciation for his level of artistry until I saw it firsthand.
Last week, the Los Angeles native performed to a packed crowd at Toronto's Sound Academy as part of his "Wildheart" tour and between his open jacket complete with white fringes and the rawness of his music, he did not disappoint.