The daughter of a prohibition-era pot farmer, the world of cannabis is not unfamiliar to me. I grew up in a grow room.
Just south of Seattle, by way of boat, rests a small island enveloped in lush Evergreens, winding roads, and 45 miles of beautiful northwest shoreline. Wherein dwells a deep-rooted community rich with liberals, artists, musicians, independent farmers, and retired hippies. Vashon Island, though modest in geographical measure is iconic in reputation— gaining notoriety among locals as 'Weed Island' on the merit of its guerilla growers and quality homegrown herb as early as the 1970s. It was here, as a teenager in the 90s, where my family became victims of the drug war, ending with a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for my father for what detectives considered "the most sophisticated growing operation" they'd seen in nearly a decade.
Twenty years later, with the long-awaited evolution of governing laws, I find solace and pride in contributing to the paralleled shift in the public perception of cannabis. Deeply inspired by my own past and what I consider to be a powerful grassroots social and political movement that continues to make substantial progress, my focus is to deliver an authentic portrayal of my subjects; documenting cannabis and the humanity behind it with an honest and insightful visual narrative. I'm hopeful that in doing so, it will dismantle preconceived notions and mainstream stereotypes lingering around cannabis culture.
Cannabis photographer Kristen Angelo began independently documenting the farms and cultivators of the US cannabis industry in 2014. Today, it remains her sole, long-term photographic project. Known for her visual storytelling, Kristen's work invites viewers into the world of cannabis culture in an intimate and compelling way with a unique and recognizable fingerprint. She has traveled thousands of miles, photographing farms and facilities from the legalized climates of Washington and Oregon to the clandestine terrain of California. She has been recognized as a photographic authority in the newly emerging cannabis photography genre by The Seattle Times, Format Magazine, Huck Magazine, FStoppers, and Photo District News Magazine.
The cannabis industry's most widely published photographer, Kristen's work has appeared in publications such as Cannabis Now Magazine, Culture Magazine, Marijuana Venture, Sungrower & Greenhouse, Dope Magazine, Northwest Leaf, Oregon Leaf, Alaska Leaf, MG Magazine, and books such as The Cannabis Grow Bible: The Definitive Guide to Growing Marijuana for Recreational and Medical Use. In 2016, her work was displayed at the Oakland Museum of California as a part of the Altered State: Marijuana in California exhibition, the first-ever museum exhibition to focus on cannabis in the US. She is a member of Women Photograph, an organization that includes more than 500 independent female documentary photographers based in 87 countries. Kristen is local to the Pacific Northwest but available for editorial assignments, commercial projects, independent commissions, and creative collaborations worldwide. She earned a degree in legal studies in 2004 and is the mother to three children.