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.

Read more


a j a n i photography: Qatari Camel Trainers

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


a j a n i photography: Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park

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.

Read more


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.

Read more


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.

Read more


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:

Read more


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.

Read more


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.

Read more


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.

Read more