A Q&A featuring @fillyoureyes
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey with cannabis.
I grew up in beautiful but conservative New England where smoking cannabis often led to me getting grounded on a regular basis throughout high school (sorry mom!). For my junior and senior years of college, I transferred to a university in Denver where I instantly fell in love with the music culture, open-minded people and endless adventure. In 2013, after I graduated, I moved to southern Colorado and started growing medical cannabis with my partner at the time. I fell in LOVE with the plant and learned everything I could about its medicinal benefits. After my first harvest, I invested in a camera to document the growing techniques I learned and the building process of our greenhouses. Two years into growing the plant, I earned a business degree, found a new passion for photography, and my cannabis obsession brought me back to Denver where I helped train budtenders, manage medical dispensaries and contributed my photography to cannabis-related publications. Seven years later, I am so happy to look back on all that cannabis has given me; healing, pain relief, amazing friends and incredible career options!
How would you describe your image and style?
Fill Your Eyes, my photography business, is a reflection of who I am and how I see the plant. It represents how I’d like others to view the experiences I am lucky enough to have—whether it be the gardens I’m visiting, the hash I’m indulging in or the scenic views I’m able to capture along my journey. I’ve always kept my style authentic to who I am and I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had throughout the years.
When did you start creating cannabis-related content? Which social media platform is best for showcasing your creative work?
I contributed my photography to High Times Magazine and DOPE Magazine at the beginning of 2013 while working for a medical dispensary. In 2015 I was offered a full-time position with DOPE Magazine as the head of the Colorado team where I was the editor of the Colorado section, managed the office along with photographing and writing in the monthly issues. Throughout those years I connected and met some of the most influential people in my life to date. I dove headfirst into the Colorado cannabis community. Since then I built Fill Your Eyes into a content-creating brand and worked more directly with companies to build their brand and image. Overall, Instagram is my favorite platform to not only share my work but connect with others who have similar passions all over the world.
How has legalization impacted your career and content opportunities? Do you believe that work still needs to be done in terms of cannabis advocacy?
With widespread legalization, I’ve been able to take my passion for cannabis photography outside of Colorado and create all over the west coast and now on the east coast where I currently live! It’s so exciting to see cannabis and CBD being normalized. I do see massive changes in terms of acceptance and curiosity, but I would love to see more legitimate studies done so that education on the cannabis plant can spread.
Walk us through your creative process: How much work really goes into cannabis content creation?
Creating with cannabis has truly been so organic for me. I see a strain or hear the name of it and the vision unfolds…I’m all about aesthetics! I love utilizing props from nature as well as the theme of the product. The brands I choose to work with is simple: Would I use this? Would I smoke this? Can I 100% recommend this product or company without hesitation? I am honest and quality is key to me. I’ll grab the strain, hash or product along with my camera and just create! It’s honestly become a form of therapy for me.
Do you have any advice for those who want to monetize their Instagram accounts and grow a following by creating cannabis content?
I would say, stay true to you. Express your authentic self and really take the time to learn about brands and companies prior to jumping into working with them; learn their goals and mission while supporting and building towards your own. Don’t stress on the likes and numbers. Just focus on the plant, sharing your experience and being real. Being inspired by artists is great and natural, copying isn’t. Support your peers, uplift those in the community and be kind, in my opinion, it goes a long way!
Shameless plug time! Tell us about any existing or future projects our readers should definitely check out and where they can find you online:
So, I recently moved back to the east coast after eight years of loving and living in Colorado. I’ve started to dive into the New England cannabis scene and just got home from an incredible and inspiring trip to Maine where I found some of the most amazing cannabis I’ve ever laid eyes on! You can find me and come say hello on Instagram: @fillyoureyes