Portraits of Lexy Panterra

Recently, while in Los Angeles (and among other projects), I collaborated with, and shot promotional portraits of recording artist and actress Lexy Panterra, in L.A.'s beautiful fashion district.

Given Lexy's Persian heritage and laid back personality, I felt connected to her as soon as we met, due to the fact that I grew up in Toronto's North York district, with a number of close friends who are of Iranian descent. In fact, prior to high school, at least a quarter of my friends were children of Iranian immigrants, and from a certain perspective, hanging out with, and working with Lexy felt familiar -- as if I was spending time with an old friend.

Moreover, I was excited to work with her, due to her obvious talent and beauty, and I was curious to find out how a relatively young artist was able to amass a social media following of well over two million fans (via Instagram alone), within a relatively short time period.

My excitement was further amplified by the fact that I was working with Lexy's highly-organized assistant, Naaz Amirsadeghi, her talented make-up artist, Jenny Ventura, and my friend Monica Seggos, who happens to be one of the most gifted stylists that I have worked with. As such, I entered a state of flow and extreme focus, prior to taking a single picture, primarily because I fed off of the creative energy in the awesome studio that we were working in (FD Photo Studio), and also because we had a clear game plan of combining cool, late 80s and early 90s looks with modern looks.

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Portraits of Rachel David

Since the dot-com bubble and the early days of MySpace, there have been major paradigm shifts within the human realms of psychology, philosophy, communications, economics, technology, and employment (among many others).

In many ways, these shifts have changed human life as we know it (in the developed world), and have recently been spearheaded by my generation – the millennials.

With that said, I recently collaborated with, and consequently shot portraits of Rachel David – a Toronto-based journalist, producer, entrepreneur, influencer talent relations agency founder, and professional funny woman, whose personas and entrepreneurial adventures embody many of the cultural paradigms that define my generation.

At the age of 19, after graduating from the Radio Broadcast program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Rachel moved to Toronto to pursue a career in television, in the midst of the last great recession, and as the digital media revolution began to explode, only to realize that the career opportunities and upward mobility in Toronto’s television world were non-existent for her (at the time).Read more


Portraits of Jamel Shabazz

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.

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Music Video: "Feel" By SAFE

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.

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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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Short Film: “Jetman Dubai: Young Feathers 4K" By XDubai

A professional pilot, Yves Rossy sought to move out of the cockpit in the continuous pursuit of flight through innovation and ingenuity to achieve mankind’s dream of engine-powered flight for humans.

Drawn initially to the world of free fall, he experimented with ways to increase his flight time and enhance his ability to select his trajectory, which introduced him to sky surfing and wing suit base jumping.

Still not satisfied, he developed his first real wing comprised of a rigid harness integrated into inflatable wing panels that he strapped to his back. The next step was towards maintaining and gaining altitude by improving efficiency with a rigid wing and adding propulsion. And thus, Jetman was born.

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Short Film: "Superfly" By Anthony Blasko

Directed by Anthony Blasko, "Superfly" is about Jimmy Snuka -- a Fijian prince who was one of wrestling’s most admired stars during the 1980s.

The crowds may be much smaller today, but Jimmy is still flying, exhibiting the grace, humility and majesty of his royal lineage.

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