In over 20 years of taking pot photos, I’ve encountered thousands of stoners. Their admiration for HIGH TIMES, now celebrating its fortieth year of existence, has meant that I’ve never lacked for marijuana models – individuals who are willing to express themselves in front of the camera. I like to visualize a photo before I shoot, but spontaneity is what comprises the fun of taking pictures. Best of all, these stoned photo sessions become indelible memories.
The fact is, I’ve always considered myself a “guerilla photographer.” I’m not studio-trained, but I know how to jerry-rig a photo set-up. In two decades of shooting the world of marijuana I’ve been fortunate enough to shoot 25 HIGH TIMES covers and about half as many centerfolds. Realizing I hadn’t searched my pre-digital archives in quite a while, I took a stroll down memory lane using a good, old-fashioned loupe to view ancient 35mm slides. Here are ten shots that I dusted off. Enjoy!
SO MANY CHOICES!
Choosing a weapon of medication can be difficult. This model expressed stoner confusion perfectly.
CANADIAN SMOKING TEAM
At the 2000 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, four Canadians outfitted themselves in team uniforms. Not sure who they were competing against, but they definitely scored!
HIGH IN THE HALF PIPE
In Killington, VT, a snowboarder soars high for the camera as a colleague poses with buds.
BOARDS & BUDS
I met this ganja gang of boarders in Huntington Beach, CA doing a story about how every board community -- surfboard, skateboard or snowboard -- has an affinity for buds.
THREE OF A KIND
I was assigned the task of taking a shot of three people who represent the world of stoners. Huh? What does that even mean? But here are three people who like pot. Mission accomplished.
We set up this shot for a story on how high-level executives were turning to pot instead of alcohol. Is this what's meant by "glass ceiling?"
THE WEED OF WALL STREET
Then we figured, as long as the model was wearing a suit, why not go down to Wall Street and shoot a photo about "high" finance with a plant sticking out of his briefcase? This photo was taken right in front of the New York Stock Exchange -- pre 9/11, obviously.
UP IN SMOKE
Here's a shot illustrating the high price of weed. Need we say more?
GARDEN OF WEEDEN
This stoner couple stripped naked to impersonate Adam and Eve for a photo of true paradise.
THEIR CUP RUNNETH OVER
Sometimes a Cannabis Cup can fatigue the hardiest of stoners, who become unsuspecting models.