RESTORING THE PERCEPTION OF CANNABIS WITH A VISUAL NARRATIVE THAT MAGNIFIES THE BEAUTY OF THE PLANT AND THE HUMANITY BEHIND IT
Kristen Angelo is an American photographer, photojournalist, and freelance photo editor. Her work focuses on cannabis legalization, cannabis cultivation, and commercial cannabis agriculture, especially the role of the farmer. She began independently documenting the farms and cultivators of the US cannabis industry in 2014. Since then, she has photographed cannabis farms and growers throughout the legalized climates of Washington and Oregon and the clandestine terrain of California. Kristen has been recognized as a photographic authority in the newly emerging cannabis photography genre by The Seattle Times, Format, Huck, FStoppers, and PDN.
The cannabis industry's most widely published photographer, Kristen has been published in Cannabis Now, Culture, Marijuana Venture, Sungrower & Greenhouse, Dope Magazine, Northwest Leaf, and MG Magazine. Her work also appears in books such as The Cannabis Grow Bible by Green Candy Press and Beyond Buds by Ed Rosenthal. 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 commissions and assignments worldwide.
IT ALL BEGINS WITH A GOOD STORY. THIS IS MINE...
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 dad for what detectives described as "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.