[ EPF 2013 SHORTLIST ]
ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
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.
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.