Pot Shots: How to Smoke Medical Marijuana

Portraits of patients in the act of inhaling.


You know how it is: first you get an assignment for Fortune magazine, and the next thing you know, you’re taking pictures of people smoking pot. At least, that’s how it worked for photographer Robyn Twomey. The Fortune story focused on the business of medical marijuana, and mostly entailed shooting pictures at pot dispensaries; but in the process Twomey got to know and photograph Jordan, a 19-year old who has a rare form of leukemia. This led to a series of over 30 portraits of medical marijuana clients as they administered their medication.

In these images, the smoke becomes part of the portrait: it’s a gesture, it’s a visualization of the subjects’ breath, it’s their environment. The smoke competes with the subject for our attention, and the strength of these pictures comes from the tension between the two.

The following images are a sampling from that project. Twomey will also be exhibiting large-format archival pigment prints from the project in an exhibit called Medicine, opening on March 3rd at the Patricia Sweetow Gallery in San Francisco. —Tim J Luddy

Ann
 

Jordan
 

Catrina
 

Karen
 

Winsome
 

Lilly
 

Julian
 

Ann
 

Robert

 

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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