When pot photographer Allie Beckett started playing around with her photos in Photoshop, she discovered that cannabis does have an addictive element after all.
“Patterns just started to reveal themselves in different, subtle ways,” she says. “I was so mesmerized. It just became addicting.”
What started seven years ago as a hobby in her boyfriend’s basement blossomed into a gig as lead photographer for a start-up cannabis magazine.
Now, Beckett is an Ashland, Oregon-based photojournalist for Weedmaps and Marijuana.com. But instead of just taking cannabis photos of her majestic, organic gardens at TKO Reserve, she’s turning her photography into a spiritual practice.
Calling it “sacred ganjametry,” Beckett creates kaleidoscopic cannabis mandalas for meditation purposes.
“Cannabis is a spiritual and meditative experience for me and many others, I believe,” Beckett says. “I have quite a few pieces of mandala art that I meditate upon – usually high – so that made me think, why not create cannabis mandalas to meditate upon? I honestly feel… meditating with cannabis, upon cannabis, brings me closer to the ancient spirit of the plant and connect[s] me with all the good she’s done in the world, and everyone she’s healed.”
While the final product has a decidedly cosmic and otherworldly appeal, Beckett’s creative process begins with a more down-to-earth approach.
“I definitely love to smoke before I shoot, edit, design or do anything creative,” Beckett says. “I typically smoke the strains I shoot since we grow our own, so it truly comes full circle.”
Beckett says she’s a “flower girl through and through,” so her favorite way to smoke is a simple fat joint, sometimes with rosin or bubble hash rolled in. “I also love medicated drinks and snacks while I’m creating,” she says. “All of a sudden it hits you and you just start thinking on another level.”
That next-level creativity led to using extensive mirroring in Photoshop, resulting in the kaleidoscopic effect that’s so prevalent in psychedelic visionary art. Her cosmic cannabis images bear names like Pink Gelato, Red Velvet Pie, Sunset Sherbet and Purple Punch.
And yes, the titles correspond to the actual strains featured in the photos.
Beckett is working with society6.com to offer the art on a variety of products — from tapestries to phone cases.
Despite her own spiritual intentions for her art, she has humbler expectations for her fans.
“I just want people to see this beautiful plant from a different perspective,” Beckett says. “I hope for people to get lost in [the images] and imagine themselves in some of these otherworldly landscapes.”
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