We had the good fortune of connecting with Sydney Montoya and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sydney, what do you attribute your success to?
Authenticity. It drives everything that I do, every photo I take, every brand I work with, and every caption I write. If I do not feel genuinely passionate about something, it doesn’t show up in my art- and that selectiveness is how I remain true to myself.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have explored photography as my art medium for about 11 years now, and finding my voice and what I was really passionate about took a lot of trial and error. For many years I took every type of gig I could trying to find a niche that I fit in with- from weddings to music photography to pet portraits to senior photos, I gave everything at least one try. I have been a medical cannabis patient for many years and one day in 2018 my partner suggested that I try using my medicine to inspire my art, and from that day on I found my voice advocating for cannabis and hemp medicine. Through my work I hope to provoke thought, spread awareness/education, and to de-stigmatize the use of this incredible plant. Seeing that “lightbulb moment” when someone realizes the vast medicinal value of cannabis makes all the negative hurdles that I face being in the industry- such as censorship, societal stigma, and gender inequality- worth it. My own grandmother who was raised to believe cannabis is bad now uses a THC/CBD ratio to ease her chronic ailments, and those little wins are what I am most proud of. Breaking down the stigma through education and art is the legacy I would like to leave.

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.
Food: Blue Pan Pizza- for arancini
Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey- for pork belly tacos & margaritas
Fire on the Mountain- for cauliflower wings & spicy peanut sauce
Tocabe- for a unique & nutritious meal
Mujka Korean Food Truck- scallion pancakes & Korean cheese dogs
Not Yo Mamas Cupcakes- the best cupcakes I’ve ever had
Ophelias Electric Soapbox- for chicken & waffles

Red Rocks
Flagstaff Mountain
Cataract Lake-Silverthorne
Idaho Springs
Joyful Journeys Hot Springs

Concert @ Cervantes Masterpiece
Denver Botanical Gardens
Bishop Castle
Meow Wolf
Denver Central Market
RiNo Art Walk

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To my mother, who encouraged me to pick up a camera in the first place. To my partner, for showing me that I could change hearts and minds with my art.
To everyone that I have worked with along the way that have inspired me and kept my passion alive.

Website: www.sydneymontoyaphoto.com

Instagram: @Sydney_slabs

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