Ajani Charles

a_portrait_of_ajani_charlesAjani Charles is a Toronto-based professional photographer, director, and producer with a background in fine arts who specializes in creating impactful stories about the human condition, self-actualization, and mental health.

A graduate of the nationally acclaimed Claude Watson Arts Program, Ajani also apprenticed at the Toronto School of Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and at 235 Films, under many of the talented artists that currently work through the award-winning, Julien “Director X” Lutz-founded production company Popp Rok. The mentoring and rigorous training he received at these institutions fertilized his natural talent, shaping him into a versatile and always evolving artist.

For Ajani the camera is a medium for self-expression and photography the ideal art form for capturing the ineffable beauty of people, objects, and landscapes. Though his images bear the distinctive stamp of his unique regard and sensibility, his work evidences an eclectic panoply of influences which includes Ansel Adams, Alexander Rodchenko, Richard Avedon, Gordon Parks, Jamel Shabazz, Chi Modu, Nabil Elderkin, André Kertesz, David LaChapelle, Steven Spielberg, Janusz Zygmunt, Hype Williams, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese, Michael Ballhaus, Helmut Newton, Annie Leibovitz, Bill Watterson, and Stan Lee.

Ajani is also the founder of The Visionaries — a Toronto-based photography and cinematography non-profit and educational program, providing mentoring to youth from the city’s priority neighbourhoods.

What’s more, his work has been displayed at the Skills Canada Photographic Skills Competition, where he was awarded a medal for the technical polish of his images as a teenager. His photographs have also been exhibited in such venues as the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art and The New Era Flagship Store, among others.

In addition, Ajani has gained considerable notoriety in the Greater Toronto Area through his first photographic documentary, “Project T Dot” — a visual chronicle of the city’s hip-hop culture and community in its entirety, including a wide-ranging collection of intimate and dramatic black and white photographs. In production since December of 2006, “Project T Dot” is currently scheduled for a late 2021 publication date.

Ajani counts among his many and varied commercial clients H&M, Universal Music Group, Bridgestone, Christian Dior, and the UFC. His work has been featured in publications such as Complex, Jay-Z’s Life + Times, and Vogue. Furthermore, he has photographed numerous icons and public figures including the likes of Drake, The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams, Wu-Tang Clan, Janelle Monáe, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Slash, Kanye West, Akon, Gene Simmons, Spike Lee, Director X, Dana White, and Commander Chris Hadfield.

Finally, Ajani is a mental health advocate, and regularly donates his time, services, and capital from each of his commercial projects to non-profit organizations and initiatives that promote and conduct research on mental health, such as The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Operation Prefrontal Cortex.

Clients

Bridgestone
Dior
Universal Music Group
H&M
UFC

Press

Jay Z's Life+Times
Vogue
Flavorwire
Design You Trust

Non-Profits Supported

operation prefrontal cortex