David Brandon Geeting’s work is known for its glossy aesthetic, sophisticated still life compositions and amusing surprises. In a recent project, the New York-based photographer has used all the skills in his arsenal to create an unpredictable but contemporary campaign for Los Angeles cannabis brand, Pure Beauty.
“It’s a strange time for cannabis in the USA,” says David, “lots of states are legalising it, but since it’s always been taboo, people aren’t sure exactly how to sell it.” To try and shed a new light on the newly legalised (in California) product, David worked alongside Pure Beauty’s co-founder, Irwin Tobias Matutina to create a slick series of images in the photographer’s signature style.
Throughout the project, Pure Beauty’s products are softly lit by ambient colours, placed in front of moody backgrounds and surrounded by swirls of atmospheric smoke. “With my work in general, when the images are successful, that usually means it’s because there is an element of mystery or surprise to them,” explains David. In this instance, it’s the handling of the cannabis which provides said surprise. With zero references to hip-hop culture, the photos are also completely at odds with the overtly goofy and cartoonish or natural, non-threatening and organic treatment we have become accustomed to seeing.
Simply put, the concept of the shoot was to “create imagery that looks cool when you’re high,” David tells It’s Nice That. Working alongside his assistant in his studio, he spent time “casually moving stuff around” until the composition felt right (or beautifully wrong). “I knew there were a few things I wanted to try, even if they were cliché, like using smoke and fire and water. I like the challenge of working with clichés and trying to make them feel fresh again,” he explains, adding “I will say that using the product while shooting the product was a big help.”
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