For his portrait series Pot Expo, photographer Damien Maloney turns his lens to the colorful characters of the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in Oakland, California. A yearly event, where people from all walks of life gather to celebrate their love for marijuana.
Interested in the culture of legalized marijuana use, Maloney had shot street fairs and demonstrations in the past but was bored with traditional event style photography. For this event, he decided to borrow lighting and set up a makeshift background on the street to make portraits of passerby’s visiting the expo. “Working this way marked the start of making pictures that felt true to me,” he explains.
His diverse range of subjects span age, race and gender. “Weed culture is especially fascinating to me because there’s this superficial obnoxious stoner thing that’s in the smoke shops and magazines and then there’s the reality that a lot of different people like to get high, which I think these pictures get at.”
All images © Damien Maloney