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About Ajani

Ajani Charles is a Toronto-based professional photographer, director, producer, mental health advocate, and Canon Canada ambassador of Haitian descent, with a background in fine arts who specializes in creating impactful stories about the human condition, self-actualization, and mental health for technology, finance, and media organizations (through his production company The Ark Media Group).

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 production company Fela, which was co-founded by his mentor and colleague, Julien Christian Lutz, who is professionally known as Director X. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Western University, and the study of existentialism led him to choose his current career path during the final semester of his undergraduate studies. 

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 is 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 numerous philosophies, Haitian artwork, ancient African artwork, Vedic artwork, ancient Greek and Roman artwork, 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, Pablo Picasso, Stan Lee, and others.

Ajani is also the founder of The Visionaries — a Toronto-based photography and filmmaking non-profit and educational program, providing mentoring to youth from the city’s priority neighborhoods, which will be re-launched in 2024.

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 2024 publication date and will include several physical and virtual art exhibits beginning in 2022.

Furthermore, he has worked with numerous icons and public figures in various capacities, including the likes of Arianna Huffington, Drake, Wu-Tang Clan, Kid Cudi, Janelle Monáe, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Akon, Gene Simmons, Spike Lee, Director X, Sean Paul, Dana White, and Commander Chris Hadfield.

Ajani regularly donates his time, services, and capital from each of his distinctive, high-budget 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, Operation Prefrontal Cortex, and Project Healthy Minds, and he is fascinated by the psychological implications of Web3, cryptocurrencies, decentralized finance, and the metaverse, among other subjects.

He is also a mindfulness consultant that is certified through the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies’ Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation program and The University of British Columbia’s Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques (SMART) program, among other programs. 

As such, mindfulness is integrated into all of his projects and his day-to-day life, much like David Lynch, and other artists that practice, teach and promote mindfulness.

Ajani teaches mindfulness (and other subjects) to ambitious and influential executives, entrepreneurs, athletes, and corporate teams on a global scale, specifically empowering them with tools to transcend their fears, insecurities, and system inefficiencies. 

For more information or business-related inquiries, reach out to Ajani’s assistant Carla Lopez via e-mail.