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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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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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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Short Film: "Please Stay Positive: Jeremy Flores" By Sebastien Zanella

As an artist and entrepreneur that has experienced countless burnouts and devastating drops in morale over the course of the last eight years, the premise behind Sebastien Zenella's "Please Stay Positive: Jeremy Flores" short film truly resonated with me.

When I first began my career as a photographer, due to my overwhelming enthusiasm and lack of professional experience, I never anticipated that the business and entrepreneurial nuances of it combined with my (unhealthy) workaholism and perfectionism would cause me to begin to resent photography and my career at times.

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Documentary: "Florida Man" By Sean Dunne

In many ways, Florida is the underbelly of the United States, with many of the nation's most absurd and sometimes horrific crimes taking place within the state's borders.

Sean Dunne’s endlessly quotable and surprisingly poignant "Florida Man" documentary features worn out and inebriated layabouts in the Sunshine State, interviewing a number of beer can philosophers over the course of fifty minutes.

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