Simone, who prefers the single-name moniker, is one happy man right now. The Rome native and Barcelona-based photographer has focused his lens on cannabis since 2017, culminating with the June 2022 launch of his online gallery.
A decade ago, Simone began a career in the film industry, first as a VTR operator (in charge of recording equipment), then as an in-demand digital imaging technician for hit European productions Sole A Catinelle, Perfetti Sconosciuti, I Medici and more. The idea of combining two of his great loves—cannabis and photography—grew stronger as his “Terpshotz project” gained momentum. Never satisfied with what’s conventional or expected, Simone produces cannabis photos sold as canvases. His extensive background and expertise in digital art, he says, inspired him to launch the arresting visual collection.
When I caught up with the affable photographer whose Instagram username is, predictably, @terpshotz, I asked him to take me to the beginning, the genesis of his notion that shooting cannabis was indeed his artistic calling. “I started working in the film industry back in 2012, and later on I merged this art with one of my biggest passions, cannabis,” Simone says. “So, it was 2017 when I lived in Rome that the Terpshotz project started to take shape. I started by shooting some CBD flowers and a little later some homemade grown myself. The rest, well, you know.”
I tell him that I find it interesting that he chose to move to Barcelona to continue his work instead of, say, perceived European cannabis havens such as Amsterdam or Berlin.
“Barcelona is an open-minded city,” he says. “This project allows all involved in the cannabis world to open their doors to artists and professionals alike—without the sticks in the mud or negative people getting in the way. For me, Barcelona embodied a place where the words I live by could take root: Look for something bigger than yourself and try to make a difference in the world.”
Trying to keep up with the passionate lensman is a feat unto itself as he speaks clearly and moves fluidly from topic to topic. Simone states that his mission is nothing less ambitious than to “aim to build a globally successful brand both in the digital and the physical world.”
Firmly rooted in the Web 3.0 universe, the Terpshotz brand is Simone’s vehicle for change, functioning as a global cannabis ambassador.
“I want to build a community centered on cannabis culture through photography, thus showing the world what an amazing and undervalued flower cannabis is,” he says. “Nothing less will do.”
I wonder out loud how conscious Simone was about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at the inception of his project and how NFTs are affecting the project now. “We’re all about NFTs, are you kidding?” he says excitedly. “The difference lies in the connection between digital and traditional photography, bringing an added value to each and every holder. For each Terpshotz NFT purchased, for instance, you can reclaim the physical copy of the shot—printed on methacrylate acrylic—and it’s dispatched directly to the holder’s mansion by my team,” he says, laughing.
He continues, clearly energized by the topic at hand. “One of the ways we separate our experience from other NFTs in the cannabis space is by selecting Ethereum blockchain to host Terpshotz NFTs,” he says. “We do this for two main reasons: to bring my artwork to the widest possible audience who, at this time, sees the mainstream photography on inferior blockchains; and secondly, in protecting my customers as it relates to the smart-contract safety, which currently is only granted by Ethereum. No other blockchain can offer that—and that’s a big deal.”
As we begin to wrap up, Simone reveals that though very pleased to be in Barcelona at the moment, he’s excited to be speaking with a US-based media enterprise. It turns out, Simone’s a fan of the red, white and blue.
“My biggest professional inspiration in the cannabis industry came from the US,” he says, as a smile washes over his face. “I’ve also been lucky enough to work on several American film productions where I learned a lot. Here’s the thing, most of the American people I’ve met share my same passions—cannabis, for starters—and this naturally pushes me to grow as an artist.”
I told you the man was happy.
This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.