What is your shooting process like for cannabis? What’s is like on your set?
I make a living as a cinematographer, so I own a ton of lighting equipment. Using that gear feels like work though, so my cannabis photography is where I experiment with unconventional lighting techniques. I’ve shot way more cannabis photos with flashlights and mirrors than you’d be able to guess. I keep my process to a minimum as much as I can. Most of my shots are captured using just one light, two lights at the most. I’m incredibly particular about lighting though, so as a challenge to myself I never depend on using natural light unless I’m shooting outside. Controlling the light is makes it feel like art to me.
How do you like to use cannabis in your daily life? Any special preferences or rituals?
I use quite a bit of cannabis, so photographing it makes me feel a lot less guilty about smoking or vaping all afternoon and watching movies. Living in Seattle, I’m surrounded by nature, so I love taking the Topstone vaporizer out for a nature walk or for a walk to a local restaurant. I always finish the day off with some indica rosin in the Topstone with the single coil heating element.
What’s your favorite piece of camera gear? What makes the magic?
My favorite piece of gear is definitely my Sony A7rii. I’m a gear junkie and it’s rare for me to hold onto a camera body for more than a year before jumping to something new, but this camera really gives me everything I need. As for what makes the magic, the short answer is...me. I like to think of myself as the magic in the weedlightmagic equation. The light is the most important element though. Or the weed.
@weedlightmagic with cozy cabin perfection Music by The Josh Craig www.thejoshcraig.com
You shoot in gorgeous locations, like the snowy cabin in the mountains or hiking trails with waterfalls and views. What was shooting at the cabin like?
The cabin shoot was a blast, despite the number of times I smacked my head on that A-Frame ceiling in the loft. We tried to go on an ambitious hike around some abandoned train tunnels while we were there, but the snow on the road got too deep for my hatchback. The rest of the afternoon consisted of wine, vaporizers and a hot tub and was a significant improvement.
Any other favorite shooting experiences?
I’ve recently started doing photo and video work with some local cannabis producers. It’s been fascinating to get a glimpse into how some of these high end products get made in an organic and sustainable way. I’ve learned a lot about concentrates and how they can be created in a safe and clean way. Filming the guys from Leira hand-rolling cannagars has been one of my favorite cannabis shoots from a visual standpoint though.
We’ve talked about bringing freshness and creativity and a “story” to cannabis and cannabis products -- what kind of story do you hope people pick up on when they see @weedlightmagic photos? What do you want @weedlightmagic to be known for?
I’m all about destigmatizing marijuana, so I hope my photos can help more people realize that there are brilliant artists and craftsmen working in this industry. I don’t think I would have any interest in photographing cannabis if there weren’t products with high-end aesthetic value and thoughtful design. Cannabis consumption shouldn’t stay hidden and it shouldn't embarrassing. Products should be on proud display at home like a sculpture.