linka odom – trim camp

Emerging Photographer Fund – 2013 Shortlist

 

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EPF 2013 shortlist

Linka Odom

Trim Camp

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Welcome to “The Pot Republic”, a cannabis-cultivating region covering nearly 10,260 square miles on the West Coast of America. Unsurprisingly given what they’re doing, there is little documentation of the lifestyle and craft of the local farmers and workers that have turned marijuana into the largest cash crop in the U.S. – generating a staggering $35.8 billion a year. Mainstream media is intent to condemn this enterprise as violent and criminal. Trim Camp sets out to explore the culture behind the cultivation and re-frame this community in a more balanced context. Marijuana and medical marijuana are now legal in respectively 2 and 18 states. Yet according to federal law, it is illegal to buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana, thus growers remain marginalized. I began Trim Camp in 2005 and since then I have documented on six grow farms in three counties. Up to now, I have focused much of my creative energy on harvest season, a unique time of year when people migrate to work. Many trimmers are thrust into situations where they don’t know anyone, in homes with little to-no modern amenities, and smothered by cannabis plants in various stages of production. My goals are now to go wider and explore the economic implications of this industry. Further documentation will cover the contrast between the lifestyle of growers and non-growers as seen through the eyes of cultivators, residents, and law enforcement. These investigations will utilize recordings with photography, to see how legalization has reshaped the perspective and business practices in the regions. Conditions are changing as the acceptance of marijuana is spreading into American’s consciousness. In fact, many believe the localized craft of cultivating is heading towards a corporate takeover, which will destroy the small grow farm, and turn it into a mass-production agri-business. My intention is not to provide justification for this lifestyle, but to document the craft and culture of an ever-evolving boom industry.

 

Bio

Born with an intrinsic preoccupation for the unknown and adventure, photographer Linka Odom passed many days while growing up, creek walking in her suburban Dallas, Texas neighborhood. Linka earned a B.F.A in Photography from N.Y.U.’s, Tisch School of the Arts in 1997. In December 2012 she earned a M.A. in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography from Univ. of Arts London. Her M.A. thesis took her to eight countries and was partly funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. In July 2012, Linka won a Getty Images Creative Grant, utilizing a distinctive technique she developed over many years to showcase her photography using multi-media materials. Linka’s extensive catalog crosses many genres of photography. She is uniquely interested in the methods we use to view imagery and in generating new techniques for presenting photography. Ms. Odom has had numerous exhibitions, as well as been recognized by the Santa Fe Photo Workshops, Getty Images, APA/LA, WIPI, and Smithsonian Magazine.

 

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4 Responses to “linka odom – trim camp”


  • Nice 1 !!! Tasty essay, loves it!

  • Interesting subject. I’ve met a number of transient teens and college students in Olympia, Washington who make the pilgrimage every year to do this work in Northern California or the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon.

    Here in Washington State where we are on the verge of stores selling cannabis for recreational use (to open in the spring), the goal is to shift revenue away from the black and gray markets to tightly-controlled, regulated and highly-taxed legal status (25 percent tax on grower, 25 percent tax on processor, and 25 percent retail sales tax).

    You state, “In fact, many believe the localized craft of cultivating is heading towards a corporate takeover, which will destroy the small grow farm, and turn it into a mass-production agri-business.”

    I believe this will be true in Washington, at least to some extent initially and perhaps to a greater extent as time goes on. For state-sanctioned legal growers the cost of regulation, testing, and security coupled with the high tax rate and the retail price point necessary to compete with the black and gray markets will mean that only larger growers who can make money on volume will be profitable. At least, that is the current consensus among those we’ve interviewed at my newspaper and testimony before the state Liquor Control Board (which may be renamed the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board).

    The thing is, no one is really sure how this will all shake out. It’s a moving target. The success of legal retail pot stores and their ability to compete against the black market isn’t even assured. This is new territory. Is pot even legal, truly legal for recreational use, anywhere else in the world?

    You’re smart to document this as the landscape shifts, and shifts quickly. Whatever anyone may think of the issue, there is no denying this is a significant cultural shift and historic time.

  • OK, it’s easy to see why this is an interesting subject with the legal ambiguity around marijuana from state to state (medical vs. recreational), state taxation issues (especially in Colorado) and how it is juxtaposed with the federal government’s unyielding position. Unfortunately none of this comes through here. In fact only a couple shots rise to the level of pretty good in my humble opinion. And the gratuitous shot of the naked female is just that. I have no idea what that adds to the story.

    The photographer’s statement is a good one but the pictures don’t deliver unfortunately. Perhaps publication here is premature, as I would like to see this photographer go “wider” as they state and really explore the economic, social and societal consequences of this burgeoning industry.

  • Hello, this is Linka Odom & first off, huge thank you to Burn for recognizing my work here! It is a great ending to 2014. I am going to take a moment to respond to the comments above. I think it’s important for me to mention that I began working on this project in 2005, long before Cannabis legalization became a hot subject. Back then, growers were very paranoid about photographing on their land, and in fact many still are, for very good reason. I personally have very mixed feeling about legalization, as I know it will come with heavy taxation and oversight. I very much appreciate the comments of Tom Hyde, outlining some of the very important questions facing the industry.

    Regarding the comments of csuspect. I would like to respond to a couple points in your comment. First off, Burn has published this work under the ‘Emerging Photographer Fund’ Shortlist, a great honor, but it is clear that Burn is recognizing unfinished & emerging photographers work here, thus the publication of ‘Trim Camp’ is well timed, as my work is unfinished on this subject, as I write in my statement. I titled my work ‘Trim Camp’ because up to now, I have focused on the small grow farm. One of the main points of my statement is that this specific aspect of growing is one of the most threatened with legalization. That is the point of applying for funding, to delve deeper into larger aspects. I have up to now focused on this aspect of cultivation, because I see it as the first thing that will be destroyed with a large corporate takeover of the industry.

    Regarding the naked female, there are two big reasons for this image. First off, I included text with each image submitted to Burn, it has been left off of the slideshow. It would explain to you that the girl in this photograph asked me to photograph her, as a gift to her boyfriend for Christmas. We hardly knew each other and I found it very telling of the people that work in the industry, just how much they love this plant. The second reason, is just a basic ode to people that love the plant. You are right, it doesn’t add much to the story, except a little humor, because people that smoke pot…well they always have a cheesy shot of a chick with a joint & I thought it was funny that I was asked to recreate this. I did this the classiest way I could imagine, as it’s not usually my forte.

    The point of ‘Trim Camp’ is to give insight into a hidden counterculture. Perhaps as Americans, this doesn’t seem that unusual to you. But I can tell you from living in Europe, this lifestyle is quite unique to the West Coast. I agree, this project hasn’t explored the larger issues as of yet. I am working on it, it’s not the easiest subject to tackle, even with legalization, there is a lot of paranoia and access takes time. Now, the fact that you think only a couple shots rise above pretty good…well we can agree to disagree on this point. I’m very proud of this work & plan to continue the project for many years to come.

    I am very interested to see what happens over the next few years to Cannabis laws & the industry itself & I plan to continue exploring the subject fully.

    Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them & thank you Burn!

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