Cannabis photographer, Kristen Angelo, has seen many facets of the industry.
“In the cannabis industry, I’ve met retired teachers, people from the insurance industry,” she said. “Everyone across the board, from conservatives to liberals. And I’ve enjoyed telling their stories.”
But when Angelo visited Buddy Boy Farms in Eastern Washington, one of the family growing operations supplying flowers for Willie’s Reserve — outlaw country icon Willie Nelson’s cannabis brand — she encountered a uniquely connected team working hard on a farm that’s definitely a family affair.
“When I arrived at Buddy Boy, it was 90-degree weather, with deep golden sun, and it smelled fresh,” Angelo said. “The people who work there are very happy to be there. Even the owner’s kids, wife and mother work there.”
Willie Nelson cuts an an iconic figure in both the music and cannabis worlds, so it was only a matter of time before the bud-loving outlaw legend joined the growing list of celebrities offering branded cannabis products.
But unlike some more corporate ventures, the cannabis sold as Willie’s Reserve in Colorado and Washington is always sourced from small, independent farms.
Willie Nelson is known for traversing the country and building communities around sharing music, love and cannabis. And his cannabis brand is dedicated to keeping the traditional ideals of the cannabis industry alive in the face of corporatization in this new era of adult-use marijuana.
Angelo said the Buddy Boy family’s connection to the land is almost as deep as their ties to each other. They also own a blueberry farm right across from their cannabis growing operation.
She says her own family also has a strong connection to cannabis. Her father was a lifelong grower in Washington who served time in federal prison on a mandatory minimum for cultivation. When she went to photograph at Buddy Boy, Angelo was granted free range to bring her camera wherever she wanted and snap shots of whatever she pleased.
“For me, taking photographs of cannabis is deeply rooted because I’m very passionate about growing and about the movement,” she said. “There was some nostalgia behind being in a grow room. It was almost therapeutic in a way. It was great being there with my camera and to have cannabis be legal and to see everything come full circle.”
Angelo’s photographs — taken in the trimming and the cloning room, capturing the greenhouse and the people who run them — bring Willie Nelson’s stash to life.
TELL US, would you like to visit Willie Nelson’s cannabis farm?