a j a n i photography: The Forbidden City

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.

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a j a n i photography: Cosmic Allure

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.

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a j a n i photography: Miguel Live In Concert For HipHopCanada

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.

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a j a n i photography: Caribana 2015

The Toronto Caribbean Carnival, more commonly known as Caribana was definitely one of the events that contributed to my definition and experience of Toronto as a youth.

Recently, I attended the Caribana parade for the first time in four years and even though quite a bit had changed within the structure and administration behind the event, I had a great time and felt a sense of pride and gratitude for my caribbean, Haitian and African roots.

I felt a great deal of positive energy and happiness as I walked through the parade, photographing those that played mas as powerful soca music reverberated throughout the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

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a j a n i photography: Portraits of Sima Sepehri

My recent portrait session with Toronto's own Sima Sepehri was quite easy going, because she's comfortable in front of a camera, because the locations that we chose were quite dynamic and because she's familiar with me. Between all of those factors and the great lighting that we experienced, I couldn't take a bad shot of her.

Sima is an actress with a love of comedy and she describes her life as a creative in the following way:

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a j a n i photography: Skepta Live In Concert For HipHopCanada

Grime is a powerful musical movement that was birthed in the UK during the late 90s and early 2000s.

Grime is primarily influenced by UK garage, drum and bass, dancehall and hip-hop. And in addition to  Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle, one of my favorite pioneers of the genre is Skepta.

Active since 2003 as an MC and beginning his career as a DJ for the Tottenham-based grime group Meridian Crew, Skepta has most recently experienced international success through his collaboration with Drake via the record "Shut Down", wherein the Toronto-based superstar performs the intro.

This past Tuesday morning, I was fortunate enough to document Skepta's first solo show at the Hoxton in Toronto, soon after his cameo appearance at OVO Fest.

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a j a n i photography: A Day At The Office

I photographed this series about five years ago and it's one of the most entertaining projects that I have been involved in.

I was inspired by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Gordon Parks, Stan Lee and Yoshiaki Kawajiri to create a series based on the day-to-day life of a beautiful and deadly female assassin.

Featuring and styled by Jenny JC, the series also involved my good friend Ryan "DJ Docta" Horne of King of The Dot Entertainment and Maple Leaf Sports And Entertainment.

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a j a n i photography: Portraits of Alicia Bell

As a former competitive athlete and as someone that currently stays quite active through a number of practices (including weight training, yoga, calisthenics, sprinting and others), I enjoy working with and photographing athletes for a number of reasons.

Firstly, working with athletes reminds me of the  parallels between being a creative professional and being an athlete.

Like creative professionals, athletes must work hard and intelligently, athletes must study and practice consistently to attain their definitions of greatness and they undergo profound psychological and physical transformations.

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a j a n i photography: A Portrait of Milo

I was recently reminiscing about my career, how it has evolved, the multitude of paradigm shifts that I have experienced over the course of the last eight years and the many events and projects that I have been involved in.

Thinking about the past led me to browse through some of my hard drives, which allowed me to stumble upon the portrait of my friend Milo featured here.

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a j a n i photography: Flow

"Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" is psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigation of "optimal experience" wherein he reveals that the most genuinely satisfying moments involve a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity and a total involvement with life and what they are presently engaged in.

With that said, I believe that very few human endeavours embody the state of flow as clearly or as beautifully as the art of dance.

Even though I think of myself as a visual artist, I have definitely experienced other art forms firsthand and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for all artistic mediums, especially those that I have not invested thousands of hours into.

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