With the Seedsman Photo Cup Spring Prize Draw just a few days away, we thought we would introduce to you our fourth judge, who will be selecting the best entries into the competition so far.
A sought-after talent in the industry, Chris – who runs Kandid Kush – was selected by Seedsman for his talents with the camera, especially because of his unique take on canna-photography and his impressive 360 videos.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m born and raised in Tacoma, WA.
I was pretty rebellious teenager. I played guitar in punk bands and skateboarded. Traditional education never really clicked with me, so I pursued all the arts and hands on classes I could take in high school. I knew I would never be a ‘9-5er’ in an office setting.
After graduating, I attended a trade college for automotive refinishing, then moved to LA to pursue painting. I worked in LA for a year, only to be laid off during the recession – which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
It ultimately lead me to Las Vegas and finding my love of photography a couple years later.
What came first – your love of photography or cannabis?
That’s a tough one! I took my first B&W film class as a junior in high school. I smoked my first bowl at 20 years old.
I didn’t really dive into photography until I was 23 years old. So I’d have to say cannabis won my heart first, and fuels the fire to my creative passions.
Can you explain why and how Kandid Kush started?
After living in Vegas for 6 years, I moved to San Diego and got my med card the first night of living in Cali.
Ordering online thru Weedmaps, I saw how awful the photos were. I saw a really cool opportunity to improve the look of cannabis.
With the cannabis I ordered, I took a photo of each strain and sent them to the delivery. Then we made a deal – a free 1/8 per photo. That’s how I started my cannabis photo portfolio.
I wanted to post them on social media, but wanted a dedicated handle for Instagram. Thus Kandid Kush was born.
At the time, I had no way of knowing Kandid would take off like it has. I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to help rid the stigma attached to cannabis by showing the beauty of the flower through my lens.
You explain on your website that you like to shoot plants like portraits, finding their unique characteristics. Can you elaborate on this?
When I started taking photography seriously I was shooting a lot of nature, urban and people. I was really into creating dramatic lighting scenarios and unique compositions.
I’m a sucker for symmetry and asymmetry compositions. I treat cannabis the same exact way. I take my time with the flower. I hand pick the cut, carefully groom and set up the shot.
I utilize focus stacking for the majority of my cannabis work. The technique captures anywhere from dozens to hundreds of images taken at different focal lengths to then be compiled together to create the depth of field and focus I want.
Your 360 videos are pretty awesome. Can you explain how and why you started doing this?
I was blown away when I first saw this done by Erik (Nugshots) and had to figure out how to do it.
I decided to learn how to do it because it was such an awesome way to showcase the flower. I also knew if I could nail it, it would really set me apart from the rest.
The basis of it is rather simple, but the execution is the tough part. The videos are actually hundreds of photos sequenced together. Think stop motion photography, the subject turns one stop and then a photo is taken. I then take those images and create a video in Premiere.
The big challenges while shooting are aligning the subject, keeping it alive, and making sure nothing interferes during the shooting process. The average 360 spin shoot takes about one hour to capture. It took me a solid year of trial and error before I was really happy with the end results.
What will you be looking at from a photography perspective when judging the Seedsman Photo Cup?
The main things will be subject, lighting, composition and creativity. I’d like to see how photographers got creative with what they have available to them.
What advice do you have for those who want to enter the Cup but don’t have much professional standard equipment to hand?
I’m a really technical photographer, but also self taught. It’s not all about the gear used, and I think that’s a pretty common misconception.
I’ve worked my way through many different bodies, and levels of equipment and had a blast doing it. There are so many resources available today, it’s truly amazing.
My best advice is to use all the resources around you. Get creative, build your tools when you can, learn everything about the equipment you have and have fun.
Chris is one of a number of high-profile influencers who will be judging the winners of the Seedsman Photo Cup 2019.
To get involved, simply head to the Seedsman Photo Cup page and upload your entries now!