Seattle Photographer Daniel Berman | Seattle editorial photographer | (206) 387-3767 daniel@bermanphotos.com

Medical marijuana business owner Martin Nickerson for Northwest Leaf

Bellinghamphotographer-editorialphotographerseattle_martinnickerson_marijuanaportrait_0001

For the March issue of Northwest Leaf I got the opportunity to photograph Martin Nickerson, the owner of Northern Cross Collective, Bellingham, Washington’s longest-running medical marijuana dispensary — open since 2011. I’ve photographed him a bunch over the years for various stories. This time around, it’s because the Washington state Department of Revenue contends that Nickerson owes more than $50,000 in unpaid taxes related to the sale of marijuana. “This is medicine, you can’t tax medicine,” Nickerson told Northwest Leaf in February, during a tour of one of several marijuana grows under his control.

berman_MartinNickerson-northerncross-medicalmarijuanabusiness2b

Before working on the inside grow room portraits, I was drawn to the stormy weather and open fields surrounding Martin’s property. The wind was whipping and cold, but the light and color of the sky was so striking. I quickly threw a light on a stand and convinced Wes, the editor, to hold on.
berman_MartinNickerson-northerncross-medicalmarijuanabusiness3

Advertisements

The Year in Pot – Marijuana legalization photos in Washington state | Seattle editorial photographer

Washington’s legalization of marijuana under Initiative 502 has dominated my assignment requests this year.
I am so grateful for wonderful clients like Northwest Leaf, The Daily Telegraph of London, Barcroft Media, The UK Sun, and Seattle Weekly, that have commissioned or licensed marijuana work this year! A whole lot of dramatic changes are still to come, like the new recreational pot stores opening, new big businesses popping up, and the impact of all this on the community and the alike. Washington, alongside Colorado, are going to be the battlegrounds for a radical paradigm shift, and I hope to have an opportunity to document it as much as I did this incredible year.

A marijuana strain called Mexican Sunrise is seen at a medical marijuana patient's home in Snohomish County, Wash February 7, 2013. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

A marijuana strain called Mexican Sunrise is seen at a medical marijuana patient’s home in Snohomish County, Wash February 7, 2013. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Ryan Barker of Modus Vivendi works to weigh out some Maui Wowi strain marijuana for a patient during the grand opening of the Rainier Beach location of the NW Cannabis Market Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 in Seattle. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Ryan Barker of Modus Vivendi works to weigh out some Maui Wowi strain marijuana for a patient during the grand opening of the Rainier Beach location of the NW Cannabis Market Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 in Seattle. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

A worker at a Spokane, Wash. medical marijuana access point February 15, 2013. Ten access points have sprouted up across downtown Spokane in the past year after Drug Enforcement Administration officials shuttered more than three dozen collectives a few years ago — citing proximity to schools and parks. Today, the collectives share a friendly but competitive spirit, and patients can avoid the dire alternative: returning to the unsafe streets to acquire their medicine on the black market. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

A worker at a Spokane, Wash. medical marijuana access point February 15, 2013. Ten access points have sprouted up across downtown Spokane in the past year after Drug Enforcement Administration officials shuttered more than three dozen collectives a few years ago — citing proximity to schools and parks. Today, the collectives share a friendly but competitive spirit, and patients can avoid the dire alternative: returning to the unsafe streets to acquire their medicine on the black market. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Northwest Patient Resource Center co-owner Jake Dimmock walks through one of the on-site marijuana gardens which provide medicine for their patients, May 9, 2013. NWPRC hopes to be one of the brand name dispensaries to enter the recreational market, and they have purchased multiple locations suitable under the new laws. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Northwest Patient Resource Center co-owner Jake Dimmock walks through one of the on-site marijuana gardens which provide medicine for their patients, May 9, 2013. NWPRC hopes to be one of the brand name dispensaries to enter the recreational market, and they have purchased multiple locations suitable under the new laws. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Ladarius Freeman, 23, from Atlanta, does a French inhale  while smoking a marijuana blunt during the Cannabis Freedom March Saturday May 11, 2013 in Seattle. "I like it here, it's so out in the open — I can be myself," Freeman said. "And the weed is good and cheap, I'm used to $20 a gram." Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Ladarius Freeman, 23, from Atlanta, does a French inhale while smoking a marijuana blunt during the Cannabis Freedom March Saturday May 11, 2013 in Seattle. “I like it here, it’s so out in the open — I can be myself,” Freeman said. “And the weed is good and cheap, I’m used to $20 a gram.” Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox showed his support for Diego Pellicer CEO Jamen Shively, center, at a news conference announcing the company's plans for dozens of branded legal marijuana stores across Washington state and Colorado Thursday May 30, 2013 in Seattle. Said Shively, "Our group will be investing in the hundreds of millions of dollars in this industry." Diego Pellicer, Inc. has acquired local dispensary Northwest Patient Resource Center, co-founder John Davis said at the conference. Shively stated the company would become the world leader in adult-use and medical marijuana. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox showed his support for Diego Pellicer CEO Jamen Shively, center, at a news conference announcing the company’s plans for dozens of branded legal marijuana stores across Washington state and Colorado Thursday May 30, 2013 in Seattle. Said Shively, “Our group will be investing in the hundreds of millions of dollars in this industry.” Diego Pellicer, Inc. has acquired local dispensary Northwest Patient Resource Center, co-founder John Davis said at the conference. Shively stated the company would become the world leader in adult-use and medical marijuana. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

A medical marijuana patient offers up a hit of a joint at a marijuana farmers market called MMJ Universe in Black Diamond, Wash., a little less than an hour southeast of Seattle, June 2, 2013. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

A medical marijuana patient offers up a hit of a joint at a marijuana farmers market called MMJ Universe in Black Diamond, Wash., a little less than an hour southeast of Seattle, June 2, 2013. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

State troopers stand guard as marijuana users and medical marijuana patients protest at the Washington state capitol June 19, 2013 against proposed changes to the medical laws under Initiative 502 that they say would harm their access and ability to use the medicine that works for them. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

State troopers stand guard as marijuana users and medical marijuana patients protest at the Washington state capitol June 19, 2013 against proposed changes to the medical laws under Initiative 502 that they say would harm their access and ability to use the medicine that works for them. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

One of three 36-foot-long marijuana grow tents maintained by Joe Parker of Port Angeles, Wash, on the state's Northwest peninsula August 2, 2013. He grows the marijuana for medical patients currently and said he wants to focus on their needs first. Parker said the area's wetness and humidity help his plants grow strong and developed. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

One of three 36-foot-long marijuana grow tents maintained by Joe Parker of Port Angeles, Wash, on the state’s Northwest peninsula August 2, 2013. He grows the marijuana for medical patients currently and said he wants to focus on their needs first. Parker said the area’s wetness and humidity help his plants grow strong and developed. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Joe Parker inspects marijuana hanging to dry in his home garage in Port Angeles, Wash, on the state's Northwest peninsula August 2, 2013. He grows the marijuana for medical patients currently and said he wants to focus on their needs first. Parker said the area's wetness and humidity help his plants grow strong and developed. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Joe Parker inspects marijuana hanging to dry in his home garage in Port Angeles, Wash, on the state’s Northwest peninsula August 2, 2013. He grows the marijuana for medical patients currently and said he wants to focus on their needs first. Parker said the area’s wetness and humidity help his plants grow strong and developed. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Yanni, Kevin, Mike, Montana and Jeremy Moberg work to trim marijuana ready for harvesting at a site owned by grower Moberg in Okanogan County, Wash. not far from the Canadian border, Sept. 18, 2013. Temperatures often rise to 90 degrees in the sunny domain of Eastern Washington. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Yanni, Kevin, Mike, Montana and Jeremy Moberg work to trim marijuana ready for harvesting at a site owned by grower Moberg in Okanogan County, Wash. not far from the Canadian border, Sept. 18, 2013. Temperatures often rise to 90 degrees in the sunny domain of Eastern Washington. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

“It’s heaven to wake up out here,” said Keif Shrefler, 30, a marijuana grower in Vancouver, Wash. who lives in a tent under the same canopy as the plants he tends at the home of grower Tom Lauerman. A former law student, Shrefler said smoking each morning “first thing,” leaves him with a clear energy that inspires getting right back to work alongside a handful of other dedicated volunteers on the 5-acre farm. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

“It’s heaven to wake up out here,” said Keif Shrefler, 30, a marijuana grower in Vancouver, Wash. who lives in a tent under the same canopy as the plants he tends at the home of grower Tom Lauerman. A former law student, Shrefler said smoking each morning “first thing,” leaves him with a clear energy that inspires getting right back to work alongside a handful of other dedicated volunteers on the 5-acre farm. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Edward Barnes of Keep Calm And Medicate Shirts, arrived in town just one day prior to the start of Seattle Hempfest, after moving from Detroit. "These three days are going to be a marathon," Barnes said, noting he has vended the shirt line at the two-day Denver and San Francisco Cannabis Cups previously. Photo by Daniel Berman/bermanphotos.com

Edward Barnes of Keep Calm And Medicate Shirts, arrived in town just one day prior to the start of Seattle Hempfest, after moving from Detroit. “These three days are going to be a marathon,” Barnes said, noting he has vended the shirt line at the two-day Denver and San Francisco Cannabis Cups previously. Photo by Daniel Berman/bermanphotos.com

 

Seattle Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb helps hand out bags of Doritos along with information on marijuana legalization measure Initiative 502 to attendees on day two of Seattle Hempfest Saturday August 17, 2013 in Myrtle Edwards Park. The recreational use of marijuana for those over 21 was legalized by Initiative 502 in December 2012. Public consumption of marijuana remains illegal under I-502. Seattle Hempfest is hailed as the world's largest marijuana "protestival" and organizers expect to attract more than 300,000 visitors to the park during the three-day weekend. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Seattle Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb helps hand out bags of Doritos along with information on marijuana legalization measure Initiative 502 to attendees on day two of Seattle Hempfest Saturday August 17, 2013 in Myrtle Edwards Park. The recreational use of marijuana for those over 21 was legalized by Initiative 502 in December 2012. Public consumption of marijuana remains illegal under I-502. Seattle Hempfest is hailed as the world’s largest marijuana “protestival” and organizers expect to attract more than 300,000 visitors to the park during the three-day weekend. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

"They're setting back years of traction in proving marijuana has medicinal uses by designating it as an intoxicants," said Michael Dare, a patient of five years, during a protest at Seattle City Hall before a public comment hearing Tuesday Oct. 8, 2013 by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which will take over regulating medical marijuana in the state. "I'm concerned that the marijuana that only really helps those in pain, the stuff high in CBD, will not be available," Dare said of the state's plans for new legal, recreational marijuana stores. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

“They’re setting back years of traction in proving marijuana has medicinal uses by designating it as an intoxicants,” said Michael Dare, a patient of five years, during a protest at Seattle City Hall before a public comment hearing Tuesday Oct. 8, 2013 by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which will take over regulating medical marijuana in the state. “I’m concerned that the marijuana that only really helps those in pain, the stuff high in CBD, will not be available,” Dare said of the state’s plans for new legal, recreational marijuana stores. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Attendees at the $650-per-ticket 2nd Annual National Marijuana Conference and Expo Wednesday Nov. 6, 2013 at Emerald Downs in Auburn. The three-day event attracted marijuana investors and business entrepreneurs from across the country to a area horse track hosting the conference. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Attendees at the $650-per-ticket 2nd Annual National Marijuana Conference and Expo Wednesday Nov. 6, 2013 at Emerald Downs in Auburn. The three-day event attracted marijuana investors and business entrepreneurs from across the country to a area horse track hosting the conference. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Washington state Liquor Control Board member Chris Marr indicates that time is running out for a patient's testimony during a hearing for public comment on proposed changes to medical marijuana law under Initiative 502, Wednesday Nov. 13, 2013 at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Wash. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Washington state Liquor Control Board member Chris Marr indicates that time is running out for a patient’s testimony during a hearing for public comment on proposed changes to medical marijuana law under Initiative 502, Wednesday Nov. 13, 2013 at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

DanielBerman_WashingtonSeattlemarijuanaphotos_legalization_0019

A large communal joint was passed around during a Legalization Day celebration marking the first anniversary of marijuana legalization under Initiative 502 at Seattle Center Friday Dec. 6, 2013. Adults over the age of 21 may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and stores to purchase the recreational pot are expected to open Spring 2014. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Chris Padron,22, of Seattle, smokes from his pipe during a Legalization Day celebration marking the first anniversary of marijuana legalization under Initiative 502 at Seattle Center Friday Dec. 6, 2013. Adults over the age of 21 may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and stores to purchase the recreational pot are expected to open Spring 2014. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Chris Padron,22, of Seattle, smokes from his pipe during a Legalization Day celebration marking the first anniversary of marijuana legalization under Initiative 502 at Seattle Center Friday Dec. 6, 2013. Adults over the age of 21 may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and stores to purchase the recreational pot are expected to open Spring 2014. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

 

Thanks to all my friends and colleagues for their continuing support of my work on this story.

Onward and upward in 2014!

Daniel

Seattle medical marijuana for The Daily Telegraph of London

Seattle medical marijuana photos for The Daily Telegraph of London. Photos by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Seattle medical marijuana photos for The Daily Telegraph of London. Photos by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

New Approach Washington Campaign Director Alison Holcomb, who heads the group seeking to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state of Washington through Initiative 502, stands on the roof of their headquarters in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle May 22, 2012. Photo by Daniel Berman.

New Approach Washington Campaign Director Alison Holcomb, who heads the group seeking to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state of Washington through Initiative 502, stands on the roof of their headquarters in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle May 22, 2012. Photo by Daniel Berman.

New Approach Washington Campaign Director Alison Holcomb, who heads the group seeking to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state of Washington through Initiative 502, stands on the roof of their headquarters in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle May 22, 2012. Photo by Daniel Berman.

New Approach Washington Campaign Director Alison Holcomb, who heads the group seeking to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in the state of Washington through Initiative 502, stands on the roof of their headquarters in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle May 22, 2012. Photo by Daniel Berman.

In a sign of what has increasingly become a new niche for my editorial photography in Seattle, I got an email from The Daily Telegraph of London asking if I would like to photograph a story on medical marijuana.

For two days, I worked with the Telegraph’s U.S. Editor Peter Foster, based out of D.C., to tell the stories of a handful of people to whom this issue is so important. In Washington state, medical marijuana has been legal since 1998 — but remains illegal under federal controlled substance laws.

Muraco Kyashna, founder of The Green Budha medical marijuana collective in Seattle, Washington, poses for a portrait with pet Moluccan cockatoo, Big Bird Bubba, May 22, 2012  alongside volunteer Layla Bush, center. Bush was shot and injured in the 2006 Jewish Federation shooting in Seattle, an incident claiming one life and wounding five others. The bullet remained lodged near her spinal cord where intractable pain continues to plague her, requiring use of a crutch. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Muraco Kyashna, founder of The Green Budha medical marijuana collective in Seattle, Washington, poses for a portrait with pet Moluccan cockatoo, Big Bird Bubba, May 22, 2012 alongside volunteer Layla Bush, center. Bush was shot and injured in the 2006 Jewish Federation shooting in Seattle, an incident claiming one life and wounding five others. The bullet remained lodged near her spinal cord where intractable pain continues to plague her, requiring use of a crutch. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Layla Bush, a volunteer at The Green Buddha medical marijuana collective, vaporizes cannabis in a dedicated room of the shop in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. She said it is her preferred way to medicate because it is quickly felt and isn't harsh on her lungs the way smoking is. Bush was shot and injured in the 2006 Jewish Federation shooting in Seattle, an incident claiming one life and wounding five others. The bullet remained lodged near her spinal cord where intractable pain continues to plague her, requiring use of a crutch. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Layla Bush, a volunteer at The Green Buddha medical marijuana collective, vaporizes cannabis in a dedicated room of the shop in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. She said it is her preferred way to medicate because it is quickly felt and isn’t harsh on her lungs the way smoking is. Bush was shot and injured in the 2006 Jewish Federation shooting in Seattle, an incident claiming one life and wounding five others. The bullet remained lodged near her spinal cord where intractable pain continues to plague her, requiring use of a crutch. Photo by Daniel Berman.

A pro-marijuana legalization poster is seen hanging in a back room where vaporizing cannabis is allowed at The Green Buddha May 22, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Daniel Berman.

A pro-marijuana legalization poster is seen hanging in a back room where vaporizing cannabis is allowed at The Green Buddha May 22, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Daniel Berman.

A cannabis patient in a well-to-do suburb, about a half-hour north of Seattle, tends to his medical marijuana crop growing in his home garden May 22, 2012. Photo by Daniel Berman.

A cannabis patient in a well-to-do suburb, about a half-hour north of Seattle, tends to his medical marijuana crop growing in his home garden May 22, 2012. Photo by Daniel Berman.

A cannabis patient in a well-to-do suburb, about a half-hour north of Seattle, Washington, tends to his medical marijuana crop growing in his home garden, May 22, 2012. The single plant of the Blueberry strain is housed in his upstairs bathroom tub, and can be expected to produce at least one pound of cannabis. Photo by Daniel Berman

A cannabis patient in a well-to-do suburb, about a half-hour north of Seattle, Washington, tends to his medical marijuana crop growing in his home garden, May 22, 2012. The single plant of the Blueberry strain is housed in his upstairs bathroom tub, and can be expected to produce at least one pound of cannabis. Photo by Daniel Berman

A cannabis patient in a well-to-do suburb, about a half-hour north of Seattle, Washington, tends to his medical marijuana crop growing in his home garden, May 22, 2012. The single plant of the Blueberry strain is housed in his upstairs bathroom tub, and can be expected to produce at least one pound of cannabis. Photo by Daniel Berman

A cannabis patient in a well-to-do suburb, about a half-hour north of Seattle, Washington, tends to his medical marijuana crop growing in his home garden, May 22, 2012. The single plant of the Blueberry strain is housed in his upstairs bathroom tub, and can be expected to produce at least one pound of cannabis. Photo by Daniel Berman

Peter wrote a nicely nuanced piece on the likelihood of cannabis legalization occurring across the U.S. Please check it out: Is the Prohibition of ‘Pot’ coming to an end in the US?

I did not have long to work on the story, but was fortunate enough to meet and photograph the owners of medical cannabis access points, people heading a legalization initiative in the state, and even patients and vendors at a daily cannabis farmers market in Seattle, and an older patient north of there, whose identity remains anonymous due to the sensitivity of his professional life.

That is the reality of medical marijuana in this state. It is used for a variety of reasons by people from every walk of life, yet remains castigated by the federal government and law enforcement — it’s a challenging line to tow, but these patients live it every day.

Steve White volunteers at The Green Buddha medical marijuana collective in Seattle May 22, 2012. Both White and Bush have been medical marijuana patients for four years now. Below are a couple dozen different strains or types, in small bagged amounts. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Steve White volunteers at The Green Buddha medical marijuana collective in Seattle May 22, 2012. Both White and Bush have been medical marijuana patients for four years now. Below are a couple dozen different strains or types, in small bagged amounts. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Muraco Kyashna, founder of The Green Buddha medical marijuana collective in Seattle, Washington, with her pet Moluccan cockatoo, Big Bird Bubba, May 22, 2012 at the access point. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Muraco Kyashna, founder of The Green Buddha medical marijuana collective in Seattle, Washington, with her pet Moluccan cockatoo, Big Bird Bubba, May 22, 2012 at the access point. Photo by Daniel Berman.

Sean Moore, center, who operates the medical cannabis collective Vivus Vivandi, helps a patient calling himself Dragonfli May 22, 2012 at the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington. Moore, a medical cannabis patient for two and a half years, said he was motivated to help people at the marijuana farmers market after seeing his girlfriend, who has Chron's Disease, deal with constant pain. Photo by Daniel Berman

Sean Moore, center, who operates the medical cannabis collective Vivus Vivandi, helps a patient calling himself Dragonfli May 22, 2012 at the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington. Moore, a medical cannabis patient for two and a half years, said he was motivated to help people at the marijuana farmers market after seeing his girlfriend, who has Chron’s Disease, deal with constant pain. Photo by Daniel Berman

Patients and vendors at the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington mingle and donate medical cannabis and edibles to each other May 22, 2012. The market serves a few hundred medical marijuana patients on a daily basis. Photo by Daniel Berman

Patients and vendors at the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington mingle and donate medical cannabis and edibles to each other May 22, 2012. The market serves a few hundred medical marijuana patients on a daily basis. Photo by Daniel Berman

A medical cannabis patient takes a closer look at large piece of medical marijuana at the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. The market serves a few hundred medical marijuana patients on a daily basis. Photo by Daniel Berman

A medical cannabis patient takes a closer look at large piece of medical marijuana at the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. The market serves a few hundred medical marijuana patients on a daily basis. Photo by Daniel Berman

Mario Richburg, who has been a medical marijuana patient for two years, smokes a cannabis joint in the medicating room of the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. A few hundred visit the daily cannabis farmers market, where qualified patients can network with others and obtain medicine, edibles and hardware. Photo by Daniel Berman

Mario Richburg, who has been a medical marijuana patient for two years, smokes a cannabis joint in the medicating room of the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. A few hundred visit the daily cannabis farmers market, where qualified patients can network with others and obtain medicine, edibles and hardware. Photo by Daniel Berman

Medical marijuana patients smoke cannabis in the medicating room of the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. A few hundred visit the daily cannabis farmers market, where qualified patients can network with others and obtain medicine, edibles and hardware. Photo by Daniel Berman

Medical marijuana patients smoke cannabis in the medicating room of the NW Cannabis Market in Seattle, Washington May 22, 2012. A few hundred visit the daily cannabis farmers market, where qualified patients can network with others and obtain medicine, edibles and hardware. Photo by Daniel Berman

My experience and previous access to those in the medical marijuana community was key to illustrating the piece, as was Peter’s guidance. He informed me of the level of knowledge surrounding medical marijuana in Britain, and how that differed dramatically from those living in the States, for whom this has been a newsworthy topic for the last few years.

One of the most interesting parts of the assignment was exploring the cannabis farmers market. The daily market boasts several dozen regular vendors, and patients are free to use their cannabis in a separate part of the facility. The entrance to the area notes: 15-minute limit. I joined them inside, and was drawn to how the community aspect of medical marijuana has increased over time. Luckily, once the patients got over the strangeness of a Seattle photographer shooting for a British paper, they opened up.It was a jam-packed schedule but I feel fortunate to be able to work with wonderful clients like The Daily Telegraph to tell stories like these.

Seattle medical marijuana photos for The Daily Telegraph of London. Photos by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Seattle medical marijuana photos for The Daily Telegraph of London. Photos by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Thanks for reading,

Daniel

Stanwood Mayor Dianne White for Cityvision Magazine | Seattle editorial photographer

The new issue of Cityvision Magazine is out and features a few portraits from my shoot with Stanwood Mayor Dianne White last month. The mayor has been instrumental in bringing Amtrak back to the small Snohomish County town about an hour’s drive north of Seattle. More than thirty years ago, Amtrak decided they would be bypassing the area, and with it, the ability of many in the community to travel to Seattle. Mayor White was generous with her time and the shoot could not have gone more smoothly.

Props as always to Cityvision, and writer Ted Tautaskas for another fine job on an underreported story! Props too to fellow NW photographer Mike Kane for his striking portraits in the same story on mayor’s changing their towns.

Stanwood Mayor Dianne White poses for a portrait at the Amtrak station in Stanwood. White was instrumental in bringing train service back to the area for the first time since the mid-1960s. Photo by Daniel Berman for Cityvision Magazine.

Stanwood Mayor Dianne White poses for a portrait at the Amtrak station in Stanwood. White was instrumental in bringing train service back to the area for the first time since the mid-1960s. Photo by Daniel Berman for Cityvision Magazine.

Stanwood Mayor Dianne White poses for a portrait at the Amtrak station in Stanwood. White was instrumental in bringing train service back to the area for the first time since the mid-1960s. Photo by Daniel Berman for Cityvision Magazine.

Stanwood Mayor Dianne White poses for a portrait at the Amtrak station in Stanwood. White was instrumental in bringing train service back to the area for the first time since the mid-1960s. Photo by Daniel Berman for Cityvision Magazine.

 

Thanks for looking,

Daniel

Recent work | Seattle editorial photographer

It has been a busy April and start to May, but I wanted to share some of recent street photographs and outtakes from a couple of editorial assignments. I will have some cool tearsheets to post by the end of the month when stuff is un-embargoed.

A man walks down 10th Avenue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle Thursday, April 26th. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

A man walks down 10th Avenue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle Thursday, April 26th. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

A King County Metro bus is seen emblazoned with an Ask.com ad on a sunny day in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle Thursday, April 26th. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

A King County Metro bus is seen emblazoned with an Ask.com ad on a sunny day in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle Thursday, April 26th. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks (#50) delivers the first pitch of their 7-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners to left-fielder Chone Figgins (#8) Sunday, April 22nd at Safeco Field. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks (#50) delivers the first pitch of their 7-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners to left-fielder Chone Figgins (#8) Sunday, April 22nd at Safeco Field. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Click the link to view (more…)

Emerald City Comic Con 2012 Photos — Seattle editorial photographer

Tim Craig, 23, from Silverdale, Wash. as Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Portraits at Emerald City Comic Con Saturday, March 31 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Tim Craig, 23, from Silverdale, Wash. as Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Portraits at Emerald City Comic Con Saturday, March 31. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

I went down to check out Emerald City Comic Con on Saturday for a fun and exciting self-assignment. It was the chance to explore on my own time and make some different kinds of portraits of the great costumed attendees. Initially, I set up a small studio in the corner of the main lobby of the exhibition area, but decided to try something new. For a few hours, I roamed around with an Alien Bee, Vagabond Mini Lithium battery pack and 46″ Photek Softlighter II on a light stand with the legs folded up. Despite negotiating the large setup through a crowded environment, my biggest challenge was just making natural pictures. Everyone, understandably, wanted to give me their best pose — something usually that they have just done for ten other people — and that couldn’t be farther from what I sought to shoot. 

Olivia Jones, 5, from Tacoma, Wash. as Princess Leia. Portraits at Emerald City Comic Con Saturday, March 31 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Olivia Jones, 5, from Tacoma, Wash. as Princess Leia. Portraits at Emerald City Comic Con Saturday, March 31 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com

Click the link to view (more…)

Nine lessons photographers taught me

I have gleaned some of my favorite lessons on life, people and, unsurprisingly, shooting, from fellow photographers. Some I have gotten the opportunity to assist, others I’ve grown to know over the years as a photographer living and working in the Pacific Northwest. All have impacted me, and helped me grow in myriad ways. I hope their outlook strikes you the same way. I am lucky to have met and learned from these inspiring, talented people.

Click the link to view (more…)

Favorite News and Feature Photos of the Year

I know it’s more than a few days into the new year but I still wanted to highlight some of my favorite frames of 2011. Most of this was shot on assignment for one client or another, but many remain unpublished — that’s half the reason I want them here 🙂 My goal on every assignment, whether it’s for a newspaper, magazine, website or university, is to make a unique picture. I try not to shoot from the pack. I try and make something different, and unexpected — a pictorial moment within a news situation. Of course, I will get the safe shot, but when time allows, I am looking for a me photo. A different vantage point, a unique angle, better access — anything to find something unique, and apart from the pack. Sometimes that works out in my favor. The risk pays off. Every shoot is a teachable moment, and it’s only a mistake if you cannot learn from it. This was a successful year but every year is a learning experience and this one taught me that in a lot of ways. You have to hustle. You have to really want it. Onward and upward in 2012, my friends.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Daniel

2011 Portraits of the Year — Seattle editorial photographer

Hello folks,

I know it is a few days into 2012 but I wanted to share some of my favorite portraits from the past 12 months. Portraiture is something I really enjoy because it can be such an intimate experience — or, in contrast, something very fleeting. It’s a total dance photographers do with their subjects. We are trying to elucidate a story visually, and make a connection with people. We want that glimpse at soul. Sometimes it is a delicate thing to do — but I love it.
It’s always a thrill to set up my lights (or recognize great natural light and rock that instead!). You’re trying to turn an unknown environment into something storytelling.

I have been fortunate enough this year to work with some fantastic new clients, such as DataSphere, the New York Post, Cityvision Magazine, Financial Advisor Magazine, The U.S. Department of Energy and Northwest Leaf and Seattleite. My assignments represent a huge gamut of subject matter, but I love thinking on my feet and bringing my own photography style to whatever I shoot — that’s part of the wonderful challenge of working with clients.

And to that end, I wanted to share a little bit of the back story behind my favorite portraits this year:


DataSphere

DataSphere, a Bellevue-based internet advertising firm, hired me to make portraits for their website. The client wanted to showcase their fun, unique corporate culture, for recruiting and marketing purposes. Along with my faithful assistant Mark Malijan, I photographed more than a dozen setups in a day all across their expansive three-floor office. It was a rush but a lot of fun to take my style and apply it to the client’s needs. I don’t think I will ever get the chance to set up an employee shot like the guys at the arcade one again. It was such a blast and definitely stands out as a very memorable assignment, this year and in my career as well.


the New York Post

One of my most high-profile shoots of the year came completely out of nowhere: photographing Gennette Cordova for the cover of the New York Post, back in June.

The cover image – I guess I am okay with all the text all over it 🙂

My friend Stephen Brashear referred the job to me and over the course of a week, I managed to make contact with Gennette and make her picture. This was my first shoot for the Post and I was totally blown away to see it on the cover. I got an email from the picture editor at midnight the day it was to come out. “Berman cover” was the subject line, and I just about screamed. It was my first national cover.

Cordova, you’ll recall, was sent a lewd photo by former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), in a scandal that became known as Weinergate. Ugh. Name aside, this was a really exciting shoot and to see the cover floating around national media sites like Gawker was another experience altogether. The Post hired me a few months later to cover Amanda Knox’s arrival in the U.S. — but more on that in my news photo of the year post coming up.


Cityvision Magazine

I have completed eight or nine assignments for Cityvision and it is just so rewarding to be working with them regularly. They run really interesting, informative pieces, that shine line on complicated issues in a relevant way. They do a great job, and my assignments have involved photographing politicians, mayors, and state senators, for stories discussing their governance work. It’s neat to meet people with power and try and make the same kind of connection I would with anyone else, to make a compelling portrait.

This was an interesting shoot because it all hinged on access to water — visually it would be tough to photograph a water story without it — but when I arrived, the fountain was turned off! A quick call from the Mayor’s PR staff to the control room staff for the arena helped get it turned on just in time. Remaining calm was key, and the mayor was a good sport about waiting for a bit to begin the shoot.

I also photographed more stories on water and on cities being inundated with public record’s requests.


Financial Advisor Magazine

My assignment was to photograph Saturna Capital’s Nick Kaiser for Financial Advisor Magazine. Saturna Capital has become renowned for their Amana Mutual Funds, which invests according to Islamamic law — and has done very well from their unassuming offices.

Nick Kaiser - Saturna Capital - Bellingham

Nick Kaiser of Saturna Capital poses for a portrait at their downtown Bellingham offices October 24, 2011. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com for Financial Advisor Magazine

I worked with two Alien Bee 800s firing into a simple 40 inch umbrella and a bare 7″ reflector, plus some nice afternoon sunlight fill, to make most of the pictures.

Nick was really generous with his time and worked with me to make some pictures the client and I were happy with. More from this shoot in my recent post: Nick Kaiser for Financial Advisor Magazine.


Seattleite

I also did a shoot this year for Seattleite, an online cultura and lifestyle magazine that started in 2011. The assignment came courtesy a friend of mine, Erik Simkins, working as their photo editor at the time. My task was to photograph Jay Friedman for a story about his food lecture series, Sexy Food. He uses humor to make the connection between the things we eat and the stuff we enjoy. I wanted to make a portrait that captured that same fun quality. We shot inside of a beautiful old classroom on the University of Washington campus. No assistant for this one, like on most of my shoots, but atleast I got a workout dragging my lighting cases up three flights of stairs. No elevator. The new client was happy and I made some pictures I am happy with too, and that’s all you can ask for right?

I had an SB-800 firing into Photek Softlighter II up high and above him, with a bare sb800 firing for the rim-light in rear.

This is the one the mag ran online.

Personal Work

Sometimes the best assignments are the ones we take on for ourselves. It’s important to try out new ideas, test new techniques, and cover the events we want to cover — even if no one is footing the bill. Sometimes we are fortunate for a client to license personal work after the fact; but that’s not the goal. I do self-assignments to keep me sharp for when the phone rings. It keeps my portfolio current and lets me push new work out more than waiting for assignment work. It’s fulfilling and a big part of my personal goals for 2012.

The Emerald City Comicon was a self-assignment that ended up being licensed for SeattlePI.com. But before that happened, I bought my own ticket, rolled all my lighting gear through the concourses and hoped to heck nobody was going to ask me to leave. I set up in an empty corner of a well-trafficked area of the main room, and looked around for interesting people to photograph. There was no shortage. In contrast to most portrait shoots where I have between 5 and 50 minutes to photograph someone, I spent only a minute or two with most of these Comiconners. I think it kept them authentic. The hours I put into the shoot paid off because it was a great day.

I also went down to Occupy Seattle and made some simple portraits of some of the protestors. I wish I would have been able to go back down, but other assignments and work kept me away. Even so, the windy, blustery evening I spent down there was informative and useful. I made some pictures I am happy with and can at least say I photographed a little bit of a very important movement, in my own backyard.


Northwest Leaf

I also did a lot of assignments for a Seattle-based publication called Northwest Leaf that deals with medical marijuana patients and the industry. It has been so eye-opening to have the access I do on these shoots, and it pays off, because I am making images that are not being made anywhere else. I am getting a grounds-eye view of this burgeoning movement, and I am excited to see where it takes me next year.

This was such a simple lighting setup. Just a single 45″ Photek Softlighter II off to my left, in close to the subject, on about 1/4 power. No fuss, no muss, just nice soft light that let more attention go to the stuff in his hands…


2011 has been a great learning experience. I really pushed myself, fell some times and grew stronger from those mistakes. It’s only a mistake if you can’t learn from it, I feel. I just want to keep driving towards my goals and keep learning and growing with my photo family, as my buddy Pittsburgh photographer Jared Wickerham said so aptly. 2011 has been a great year, a fulfilling year and probably one of my strongest years. You have to really want it in this business, and I think about that everyday. I am so blessed to be doing what I love and know the amazing people I do these days in Seattle and across the country. The kinship and community in photography is like none other!

Thanks for looking, and if you made it this far, thanks for joining me on this journey.

Daniel

Nick Kaiser for Financial Advisor Magazine

Nick Kaiser - Saturna Capital - Bellingham

Nick Kaiser of Saturna Capital poses for a portrait at their downtown Bellingham offices October 24, 2011. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com for Financial Advisor Magazine

The chance to work a few blocks from my home is a pretty rare opportunity. For the most part, I am schlepping my lights and lenses across the Northwest — so to have an assignment so close in downtown Bellingham was a real treat.

My assignment was to photograph Saturna Capital’s Nick Kaiser for Financial Advisor Magazine. Saturna Capital has become renowned for their Amana Mutual Funds, which invests according to Islamamic law — and has done very well from their unassuming offices.

Nick Kaiser - Saturna Capital - Bellingham

Nick Kaiser of Saturna Capital poses for a portrait at their downtown Bellingham offices October 24, 2011. Photo by Daniel Berman/www.bermanphotos.com for Financial Advisor Magazine

Click the link to view (more…)

%d bloggers like this: