We had the good fortune of connecting with Rhys Harper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rhys, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Honestly, it kind of found me. I have been a photographer and creative director for basically twenty years now, but never thought of becoming a cannabis creative – I didn’t even know that was a real thing. I became interested in cannabis in 2018, but it wasn’t until last year during the pandemic that I realized this was the career I wanted to pursue. So when all my wife’s and my weddings were canceled due to the pandemic, we had both basically lost our job, and as cannabis was deemed essential, I knew that I needed to switch gears. It’s been a really fun year with a lot of learning!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Getting to this place definitely wasn’t easy – it’s taken me a lot of years to really figure out where I’m supposed to be!
In the cannabis world, macro images of cannabis aren’t new. But my work is definitely unique, both in the cannabis world and out, for a number of reasons. In the industry, I’d say my work is unique because most people see me as a cannabis photographer and have no idea that photos are actually the marketing tool I use to help businesses succeed. Because that’s really what I do – marketing. Having basically the complete skill set of a full-scale marketing agency is not typical, I think, of most cannabis photographers (although don’t quote me on this, because I don’t know them all, ha!) But I’ve had clients tell me that they were surprised to know that I’m much more than just a photographer, and that it’s unique.
Outside of the cannabis world, most people have no idea that cannabis looks like the photos I take. And that’s the biggest thing for me – presenting cannabis in a completely new way to people who may not have been interested otherwise, or who haven’t seen cannabis look like it does in my photographs. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m actually really eager to share my work outside of the cannabis world, because that’s where I think it will have the most impact, and spark the most change.
If there’s one thing I would want people to take away here, it’s that what I do, and other cannabis creatives, is important. The storm of federal legality is coming, and the brands and companies that will survive that tidal wave are the ones who are making a plan and investing in their brands. I love what I do, and I genuinely care about helping businesses succeed – it’s really fulfilling.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Honestly, I’d spend it skiing. Give me every moment of that perfect powder. We’d spend every moment on the slopes, and then sesh and talk about the best runs of the day over some good takeout. I’m pretty simple – good friends, good times.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that have supported me, but the two most critical, important relationships that have allowed me to launch this business are my wife, and my main client here in ABQ. My client here has become both my colleague and my friend, and he’s the one who really saw my potential in this industry, and gave me the real opportunity to pursue it. So I definitely would dedicate it to my wife, Shay, and my client/friend, Brent.
©Rhys Harper / Art of Cannabis Co.