In his twenty-eight years, THEM, the mysterious photographer behind the @WeedNeedThem Instagram account, has learned that creativity, like cannabis, has many different faces. His blunt shots illustrate how cannabis, the ancient nymph that she is, can lure you into a hypnotizing trance, push you to the edge of anxiety, and ravish your soul with true creative fulfillment.
THEM’s relationship with cannabis is incredibly raw and appreciative, but it is also relatively new.
“Growing up in the 90’s and experiencing a hint of the 80’s crack era, [I was] steered away from drugs or any alcoholic substances ENTIRELY,” THEM shared in an Instagram message. “My mom, grandmother, and grandfather were all addicts during that time.”
His father was a well-known local DJ in Brooklyn. The house and techno-beats that he dropped around the city like gems inspired THEM to find solace in his own creativity through music and photography.
“Music was always my first love,” THEM told High Times. He comes from a creative family, so he was always able to practice his rhyming skills, listen to a wide-variety of genres, and use childhood pranks, like roasting his friends, to add flair to his craft.
In 2007, THEM began to explore his love for photography while working in front of the camera as a model for Versace when he was 17. “[Modeling for Versace] was my first way of seeing how set life and the professional side of the [photography] industry works.”
“Fast forward to 2016, my mom had [been] clean for 20 years but my dad and grandfather had gotten sick,” shared THEM. That same year, his father passed away on 4/20. His grandfather’s death followed four months later on August 20th.
“Now, I’m not a spiritual person but isn’t this a sign of a new journey? The only drug my dad ever used was aspirin, but my grandfather used every drug under the sun,” said THEM. [In December 2016] after my grandfather passed, I tried a sour belt for the first time. Now it was nowhere as good as sex, but it felt like the edible started to ejaculate THC pellets every time I inhaled. [That night,] I danced, laughed, and eventually went to sleep.”
A few months later, THEM started to really indulge in cannabis culture. “At first, I took interest in [cannabis stocks], but I soon realized it’s just a waiting game,” said THEM.
He wanted to make a real impact that would grant him immediate results, so he began sharing the raw and creative moments that he was having while high on Instagram.
“How could you not want to take pictures of something so beautiful?” asked THEM in a phone interview. “Like the buds are so beautiful and so colorful. The colors of the weed make me feel euphoric. I figured why not translate that into an image.”
By capturing the first few bites into an edible or the streams of smoke leaving a fresh blunt, the “Creative Cannabis Enthusiast” wants to explore how versatile weed is through his photography.
THEM believes that the work that he is doing in the cannabis industry is crucial. Still in the early stages, the cannabis industry is incredibly stiff, which goes against the very nature of the plant. Laced with the energy of creativity, peace, love, and understanding, the true nature of the plant is being stifled by racism, sexism, and greed. THEM hopes that his photography will help re-establish creative order.
“I try to make everything look desirable because that’s what this industry deserves,” says THEM. “I want to show outsiders how it feels instead of how it looks.”
Instagram provides us with the ability to create our own worlds and act out personas, real and fake, that we believe will earn us validation and attention. @WeedNeedThem aims to illustrate cannabis beyond the boring bong rips and bud stock photos that cloud social media by offering to capture all of our senses with tantalizing photos of RAW Cones filled with bud, beautifully unclad women, and cozy shots of our favorite munchie time snacks.
“[Weed keeps] me relaxed. [It also teaches] me that there [are] layers to my current state,” THEM told High Times.
He believes that weed can encourage us to dive deeper into ourselves and find validation in our feelings, but if ignorance continues to be involved, cannabis will lose her magic. His work also illustrates the importance of being open to cannabis. The plant will bring us into her world, which resides in a dimension full of color, light, and sound that all have a message to share.