New Leaf Yoga Foundation's Still We Rise Gala 2017

New Leaf Yoga Foundation is an amazing and impactful non-profit organization that I have recently partnered with, in addition to the Centre For Addiction And Mental Health, as cultivating the mental health and wellbeing of Torontonians, Canadians, and humanity are causes that are incredibly important to me.

If you are unfamiliar with New Leaf Yoga Foundation, it is a Canadian-based non-profit organization that develops and implements life-skills programming for youth, through yoga and mindfulness. The organization inspires and supports youth to tap into their inner strength and resources, so that they may cultivate seeds for peace in their lives and communities, and they have supported numerous youth within the city's underdeveloped communities, within the Canadian justice system, and elsewhere.

As such, I have offered my services as a photographer and cinematographer to New Leaf, pro bono, and I will also be collaborating with them as an ambassador, by sharing my story with the youth that they support and mentor.

Through my own experiences, through the myriad of challenges that I have faced over the course of my life, and through my observations of the challenges experienced by many other individuals (and organizations) around the world, I intimately understand the hardships and opportunities that anxiety, depression, other forms of mental illness, and childhood traumas can present in one's life. And it has taken me thousands of hours (and a lot of concentration) to process and transcend my own experiences of anxiety and depression.

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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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Video: "The Convergence Campaign" By Manifesto Community Projects And The Remix Project

Over the course of the last eight years, I have had the honor of learning from, collaborating with and building with some of  Toronto's most talented artists and community leaders through the Remix Project and also through  Manifesto (which is otherwise known as Manifesto Community Projects).

Collaborating with both organizations has definitely helped me to curtail the fears and daunting existential dilemmas that most creative individuals experience. Furthermore, since 2007, being amongst like-minded members of Manifesto and the Remix Project always reminded me that I was not alone and that I should always dream big and follow through on those dreams. Watching both organizations evolve from their humble beginnings has been impressive and I am grateful for their creative energies and hugely positive impact on Canada's arts community and marginalized youth populations.

With that said, this article is a congratulatory post to my friends Gavin Sheppard and Che Kothari (along with their business partners Ryan Paterson and Drex Jancar along with the rest of their respective organizations).

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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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Documentary: "Ai Weiwei’s Appeal ¥15,220,910.50"

Ai Weiwei is an artist and political activist that I greatly admire, that I have the utmost respect for and that I have made a point of photographing one day, much sooner than later.

Not only is he a prolific and versatile visual artist that has excelled at expressing himself through every medium possible, not only is he at the forefront of the modern Chinese art movement, not only is his life story a work of art, but he has also successfully challenged the oppressive nature of China's government (and many other governments) through his poignant artwork.

"Ai Weiwei’s Appeal ¥15,220,910.50" was produced by the artist's studio and opens with Ai Weiwei’s mother at the Venice Biennial in the summer of 2013 examining Ai’s large "S.A.C.R.E.D. installation" portraying his 81 day imprisonment.

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Restarting My Photography Career

My photography portfolio was recently redesigned and re-launched, so check it out if you’re interested in photography and in my career as a photographer.

A happy coincidence: as I was working on redesigning my portfolio, two well known publications spotlighted my work. Design You Trust recently published a story on my photographic essay on Beijing’s newly destroyed Wonderland amusement park and on the same day, Jay Z’s Life + Times published a 15-page article on my career.

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Video: "Ryan McGinley: Parsons Commencement 2014 Speech"

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Ryan McGinley is an accomplished American photographer that shoots primarily with film. Some of his many accolades include a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art and being "Young Photographer of The Year" by the International Center of Photography in 2007.

He is also the former photo editor for VICE and his career has skyrocketed considerably over the course of the last seven years or so.

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Video: "The Washington Ballet's Hardest Dance Moves" By The Washington Post

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The Washington Post recently went behind the scenes at the Washington Ballet to get six professional dancers to show off their most difficult moves.

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Interview: Chase Jarvis By Tim Ferriss For CreativeLive

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Serial entrepreneur and adventurer Tim Ferriss recently stopped by the CreativeLive studios to chat with his friend and CL co-founder Chase Jarvis.

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Video: "The Battle of The Decades -- 90s Rap Category" By Jeopardy!

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There is almost nothing better than listening to Alex Trebek rap iconic verses from 90s Hip-Hop records on Jeopardy!

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