Cannabis is a weird looking flower, and that’s exactly why it has such an undeniable aesthetic appeal. Macro photography of the nug reveals intricacies that are hard to look away from; the vibrant orange hairs reaching out of dense, crystal coated fuzz balls; the sometimes deep, sometimes subtle purples and reds with a look both menacing and seductive; the tiny translucent mushrooms sprouting out of green leaves like alien appendages. And that’s just Mary Jane’s bizarre and fascinating look. Cannabis culture is laden with moments for photographers to capture. From growing cannabis to cooking with it, wearing cannabis fashion to wearing cannabis smoke, there are plenty of photographs to be taken.
Here are 10 photographers who take the best ones.
Dab Cat - @constantconcentrates
Dab Cat puts the microscope into the macro shot. He actually uses a microscope to capture incredibly zoomed in images of trichomes. The result is an eerie, almost sci-fi depiction of the mushroom-like appendages responsible for cannabis’ potency. The closeness of the trichomes gives them life—they appear as transparent alien creatures with bulbous heads, some looking down at the strange and wrinkled surface from which they’ve sprouted, others looking up, and the oddest ones curved into U shapes. After perusing Dab Cat’s Insta, you’re bound to think a little differently about your next smoke session.
Bess Byers - @imcannabess
In short, Cannabess is a freelance weed photographer. That description doesn’t do her justice, though. She is also a political activist, a former cannabis grower, and a public relations guru with a clientele portfolio including Nike, Apple, Louis Vuitton, Grey Goose, and Northwest Solutions, the largest cannabis producer/processor in Washington state. As you scroll down her Instagram, you’ll see lots of cannabis lifestyle pictures depicting cannabis consumption sometimes luxuriously—think chic fashion and plumes of cannabis smoke; sometimes against a glorious backdrop of flower fields or trees, and sometimes in a way that seems so familiar, it’s hard to understand why anyone has a problem with weed. Check out the interview we did with Bess!
Oleg Zharsky - @oleg.photos
A Seattle-based cannabis and portrait photographer, Oleg’s work tends to feature a little bit of both. And very often, these photos depict women looking powerful, resplendent, and accompanied by a lit joint. Combined with Oleg’s apparent affection for the outdoors in both rustic and urban environments, this creates an overall tone that is serious about uplifting individuals and normalizing cannabis lifestyles.
Erik Christiansen - @erik.nugshots
This “cannabis photographer by day, amateur scientist by night” merges his identities in a photography style showcasing the weird and wondrous facets of the cannabis plant. Some of the most interesting images on his Instagram are incredible macros of immature trichomes showing purple hues in their bulging heads, the iridescent and ridged surface of a cannabis seed when zoomed in with microscopic precision, and rivers of bubbling gold rosin. Erik is also the founder of Nugshots, a media company offering the cannabis industry stock photography.
Morgan Leigh English - @thiscannabislife
It is immediately obvious when looking at Morgan’s pictures that she is invested in destigmatizing weed. Her photography often captures cannabis products or consumption alongside every-day and widely regarded healthy objects or activities. One of her photos depicts a delicious looking smoothie bowl served with a couple of cannabis nugs on the side. Several of her images are self-portraits in which Morgan is smoking while in a yoga pose. The soft light, familiar spaces, and empowering messages captured in her work elevate cannabis away from its stigma.
Curtice Taylor - @curt_ice
Curtice’s shots are beautiful windows into each phase of cannabis’ growing cycle. As a photographer for Green Bodhi, cannabis growers devoted to teaching Intentional Horticulture, Curtice uses his talent to capture the beauty and intricacies of a growing cannabis plant. Whether it’s by looking at a macro of trichomes or a close up of a seedling sprouting from its seed, Curtice’s photography will give you a deeper appreciation for the beauty of cannabis growth.
Randi - @devilslettuceph
Randi is “just trying to help improve MJ’s image.” Her images often place cannabis amongst other more traditional flowers, a gentle and visually stimulating reminder that cannabis is, in addition to recreational and medicinal, beautiful in its own way. Randi uses color in a way that has the effect of softening cannabis’ unfairly demonized image. If you like Randi’s photography enough to wear it, you can. She sells apparel showcasing her unique photography on her website.
Mothership Glass - @mothership_glass
If you collect glass, this is the Instagram account for you. Mothership Glass is a paraphernalia company specializing in one of a kind functional and artistic glass pipes. Each pipe is truly a masterpiece, crafted with incredible vision and attention to detail that put these pieces of art on the market for thousands upon thousands of dollars. Even if you don’t have the money to spend, the designs this company comes up with are incredible to peruse through, if only to just imagine what it would be like to smoke from a $10,000 pipe.
Sean Moore - @dankshire_
If you didn’t know what you were looking at, Sean’s macros of dabs shots and hash might appear as lemon-colored rock candy, honey, or orange jam. The citrus colors and bubbling surfaces give the cannabis concentrates a truly delicious aesthetic. Sean got into cannabis photography in 2014 when he realized that there was a paucity of high-quality images depicting the beauty of the flower and its derivatives.
Allie Beckett - @canna.obscura
Co-founder of TKO Reserve, an organic Oregon and Washington State cannabis producer, Allie has a passion for clean cannabis and photography that showcases the plant in its natural environment. With images depicting cannabis growing, the outdoors, and confidently unapologetic and sometimes whimsical cannabis consumption, Allie’s photography works well to present cannabis as what it is—a product of nature.