The People of Venice Beach

Some of the most interesting and enjoyable moments of my recent trip to L.A. were the moments that I shared with the people of Venice Beach, in my spare time, and specifically on the Venice Beach boardwalk.

Venice Beach experiences an influx of millions of visitors per year, it is one the most populated tourist attractions in the United States, and it often regarded as "a cultural hub known for its eccentricities".

Because of the countless tourists that visit the boardwalk, there are numerous vendors, buskers, and homeless people there, and throughout the surrounding beach area, and I learned a lot about Venice, California, and the individual lives of many of the people that I met on the boardwalk.

Over the course of one and a half miles, and facing the picturesque sands of the Pacific Ocean's shoreline, the walk features mimes, clowns, jugglers, jesters, break dancers, gangsters, food vendors, painters, drug addicts, and everyone in between, and the sheer number of individuals that are hustling, and essentially pursuing the American dream, can be overwhelming at times.

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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.

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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: 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.

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a j a n i photography: Cosmic Allure

When the art and science of photography was first invented during the early 1820s, the earliest photographers diverged in two directions -- one group set out to document the world around them in a straightforward manner and the other group aimed to create beautiful surrealistic images that challenged the notion of human perception.

Through their experimentation, the latter group of early photographers discovered double exposure photography by accident and the unique style has persisted ever since.

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a j a n i photography: Miguel Live In Concert For HipHopCanada

Musicians like Prince, Queen, Guns N' Roses and Michael Jackson dominated the 80s and set the bar unbelievably high for live musical performances.

As such, very few artists  that represent my generation have been able to measure up to the superhuman standards that were established during the 1980s and before.

With that said, one of the few songwriting and musical performance anomalies of my generation is undoubtedly Miguel and I didn't truly have an appreciation for his level of artistry until I saw it firsthand.

Last week, the Los Angeles native performed to a packed crowd at Toronto's Sound Academy as part of his "Wildheart" tour and between his open  jacket complete with white fringes and the rawness of his music, he did not disappoint.

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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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