a j a n i photography: Polaroids of Alina

I love the digital age, I love social media and other aspects of digital media, I love the fact that the quality of my cellphone's camera allows me to practice my skills at any given moment and I love the fact that I can instantly share my work with thousands of people around the world.

However, even though the vast majority of the images that I shoot are presently digital, I am forever grateful for my early years as an analogue photographer that exclusively used film, between the seventh grade and my second year of university.

During those years, I was a kid, my economic resources were limited and as a result, film was limited. Furthermore, darkroom time was restricted, so I had to make every photograph count. Each roll of film was sacred , every second in the darkroom was cherished and the process of shooting and developing film was not unlike a religious rite of passage.

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a j a n i photography: Travis Scott Live In Concert For HipHopCanada

Over the course of the last seven years, I have worked with, have been on stage with, have learned from, have documented and have shot portraits of countless musicians, artists, entertainers and icons that I admire on a number levels.

With that said, at this point in my career, it takes a number of unique qualities for an artist to peak my interest, regardless of what medium they use to create their artwork.

Since 2013, Travis Scott has been one of a few musical artists that I became an instant fan of (for numerous reasons). As such, I was truly excited to cover his concert at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall this past Tuesday and even though I had thoroughly listened to his “Days Before Rodeo” project prior to the concert, I had no idea what to expect from his live performance.

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a j a n i photography: Rich Homie Quan Live In Concert For The Substance Group

Prior to traveling to Atlanta, I didn't have a truly experiential point of reference for Atlanta's Hip-Hop culture or the the societal nuances that influenced it. My appreciation for Southern Hip-Hop only extended as far as BET, MTV, Much Music and a childhood of mixtapes, mix CDs and digital downloads.

However, once I visited Atlanta for the first time, I began to understand Atlanta's Hip-Hop music at a deeper level.

Prior to that first trip, I read an interview featuring Julia Beverly (of Ozone Magazine) in which she described Southern Hip-Hop music as being music that doesn't place a great deal of emphasis on lyrical complexity and is produced primarily for nightclubs or as part of one's soundtrack for a long drive.

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a j a n i photography: Suzhou, China

Suzhou is a major city in the southeast of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, it's adjacent to Shanghai Municipality and it takes about an hour and a half to drive to from Shanghai (without traffic).

When I first traveled to Suzhou (about two years ago), I didn't know what to expect and I was quite exhausted from a late night and early morning out in Shanghai, checking out some of the city's many nightclubs.

At the time, my friend Xue Qi was involved in facilitating some tours throughout China on behalf of French nationals, she told me that Suzhou was one of the most beautiful places in China and as such, she basically put me onto a bus so that I could experience it firsthand.

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a j a n i photography: Riff Raff Live In Concert For HipHopCanada

Last weekend, Riff Raff aka Jody HighRoller graced the stage at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall in all of his Monster Energy drink-sponsored glory.

I was excited to see his performance (on behalf of HipHopCanada), because I’m a big Riff Raff fan, I think that he’s hilarious, I was thoroughly entertained by my interview with him a couple of years ago, but never had the opportunity to see him onstage.

When I first walked into the venue, I realized that Jody’s fan base was the second most eclectic, diverse and seemingly random collective of individuals that I had ever seen at a concert, after Die Antwoord’s fan base.

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a j a n i photography: A Tribute To David LaChapelle's "Jesus Is My Homeboy" Series

David LaChapelle will forever be one of my favorite visual artists and his unique vision, creativity and versatility have hugely influenced my work and how I interpret visual arts, especially within the realm of photography.

When LaChapelle saw someone wearing a “Jesus Is My Homeboy” t-shirt in 2003, the simplicity of the message immediately grabbed his attention and caused him to ask a number of questions.

He began to wonder about Jesus' homeboys, otherwise known as the 12 apostles and how they would be manifested within 21st century American culture.

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a j a n i photography: The Atomium

I first photographed the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium at the age of 15 using film and my first SLR camera -- the Canon EOS Elan II. With that said, I have been meaning to post my pictures of the structure online since the early 2000s.

I have traveled all over Belgium (and Western Europe), I miss Belgian culture  quite a bit and I hope to visit Brussels and the rest of the country again soon.

To this day, the Atomium is still one of the most unique structures that I have photographed and it was first constructed for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.

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a j a n i photography: The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu Temple

The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple is quite easily one of the coolest, most beautiful and most intricately built structures that I have been to in North America.

The temple doesn't look or feel like anything else in Toronto, it's truly a hidden gem and stepping onto the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir property made me feel as if I was in India for a couple of hours (albeit a cold part of India).

What struck me the most was the high level of craftsmanship within each part of the temple and the fact that the structure's exterior was no more or less detailed than its interior.

Furthermore, I found the temple's prayer area to be incredibly calming and sacred (due to its design and lighting).

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a j a n i photography: Portraits of Maria Stern

Maria Stern is a Toronto-based documentary filmmaker and she aims to inspire people through her work, allowing them to look at our world with a fresh perspective.

She is currently working on  her first feature documentary entitled "The Wandering Feast" and she also owns and operates a film production house known as Turquoise Films.

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a j a n i photography: Reflective Arrangement

"Reflective Arrangement" is a series that I had a lot of fun shooting and there were many reasons behind the fact that I experienced high volumes of flow and positive energy while producing it.

Firstly, the project's process represented one of the most important aspects of my life and career: that enriching, genuine, empathic and reciprocating human interactions and relationships are paramount to one's success and must form the basis of each project (preferably before the technical details have been ironed out).

With that said, one of my many advantages as a photographer is my ability to put my subjects at ease by simply being myself, by accepting my subjects' stories and paradigms with open-mindedness and by sharing my stories and paradigms from the heart.

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