Shannon Dorn – DOPE FOTO

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“Over the years I created a name for myself as a photographer and decided to make the leap in 2014 to be a freelance photographer. Sustaining yourself while doing what you love is hard, but living your dreams makes it so worth it.”

 

Featured Cannapreneur:

Shannon Dorn, Co-Founder at Dope Foto

Feature: Shannon Dorn

Company: Dope Foto  (IG: @Dope_Foto | Facebook: @DopeFoto

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Website: www.DopeFoto.com

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Cannabis has been counterculture, alternative and considered somewhat grunge for decades.  Think crumbles of ash and hash on a college kid’s coffee table. Now what we are seeing is that as cannabis becomes increasingly legalized in the U.S. and other countries, cannabis is being both consumed and presented in more creative ways.  I was in a dispensary one day last year when I was captivated by a beautiful photograph of  the Lil’ Sebastian strain  in full bloom, stretched across a bright white canvas.  The naturally occurring purple hues of the strain were enhanced and popped brilliantly against the white background.  The piece struck me as a compelling piece of art. The piece showed the cannabis plant as the flower that it is.

I needed to know where to get such a canvas.  I needed to know who created such a piece.  I needed to have 5 pieces just like it to strategically place across my office wall.  The piece, it turned out,  was by Shannon Dorn of Dope Foto.  Shannon is a photographer in Las Vegas, building her Dope Foto brand in the cannabis industry along with the other two Dope Foto team members,  Shaun Bruscher and Geo Sorto.  After admiring Dope Foto pieces for months, I finally got ahold of Shannon and we got the chance to talk bout her journey as a photographer in the cannabis industry.  

Here is what the creative cannapreneur had to share…

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Dope Foto

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CM:  Hey Shannon!  Thank you so much for spending some time with me to talk about your awesome journey, Dope Foto and the cannabis industry.  Before we get too deep into it, can you tell me more about where you are originally from and where you are living now?  To get an idea of where your whole journey started.

 

Shannon: I am originally from Las Vegas, NV. Born and raised and am still here 35 years later. I’ve always wanted to relocate up until the Cannabis Industry began to take off here. My dream is to own a beach house in San Diego while living in Vegas part time. 

I drew an interest in photography in middle school and continued taking classes all the way through high school and college. 

I found my was as a photographer in the emerging Las Vegas art scene. Photography was my art. First Friday in Las Vegas brought so many artists together, including myself and together we created and made visions a reality. 

In high school I won 1st place against all high schools in clark county in the color category. This winning made me see that maybe photography was my skill.

In 2003 I created a photography art calendar and released it in 2004. That was such a success I released another one for 2005, bigger and in color this time. It didn’t succeed as much as the other one but it was an awesome calendar! Both those calendars were a group effort and could not have done it without the models and artists involved.  They were the beginning of my photography career/ business. 

 

CM: What have you done from that starting ground to get you to where you are now?

 

Shannon: I have experience in printing and enjoy printing my photography on canvas. I like to stretch the canvas and seal it… something about using your hands to bring a vision to reality, captured from my camera, is very satisfiing.   I have a ton of solo pieces and collaboration pieces with artists all over the west coast. 

I’ve toured shows all the way to Colorado, California and back down to Vegas. 

Over the years I created a name for myself as a photographer and decided to make the leap in 2014 to be a freelance photographer. Sustaining yourself while doing what you love is hard, but living your dreams makes it so worth it. 

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Las Vegas Arts District

Las Vegas Arts District | Downtown Las Vegas

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CM: I have seen some of your photography from a few years ago and it’s pretty family based.  Tell me about one of your first cannabis oriented photoshoots!

 

Shannon: Some friends of mine -Kush Cake Pops invited me to HighTimes Cannabis Cup a few years ago. They wanted me to document the event and what was going on at their booth. This was my first time at an event like this and it opened my eyes to a whole new world. 

Soon after that day we noticed a lack of quality photography in the cannabis community. All these companies had amazing product and photos that didn’t match. After some research it was an easy decision to make. 

 

CM: I know the cannabis industry is still really developing its identity.  How did you decide to specialize in the cannabis industry?  Was there anything in particular about the industry that inspired you?

 

Shannon: Due to the lack of quality photography, I knew with the team of photographers in my life we could totally create a company. 

The Cannabis plant is inspiring in so many ways. Plus it was my dream since high school to have my photos featured in High Times Magazine. I think I am closer to that goal now than back in 1999.(laughter)

I’ve been a daily smoker since Jr. High School and love the plant. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the medical benefits of the plant, I discovered why I have been smoking cannabis since then. (smile) This inspired me to open up and educate others on the medical benefits. 

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“The Cannabis plant is soooo pretty, I treat them like my models.”

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CM:  You say that you discovered why you had been smoking cannabis for so many years?  What was the reason?

 

Shannon: I have dealt with depression most my life. Cannabis made me feel that I could cope with life and all its struggles. 

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Dope Foto

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CM: Thank you for sharing that..  Really, it is so insightful to learn about the ways cannabis helps people on a daily basis.  So, having been a long time consumer, and then combining that with your passion for photography, Dope Foto makes perfect sense.    Can you expand on Dope Foto a bit?  How did you develop the Dope Foto concept?  And how did you choose to create a brand focused on the visual aspects of the industry?

 

Shannon:  Dope Foto is a team of 3. We each have our own styles and experience in photography. Offering photography to the cannabis industry as a whole was our goal. Since there are so many types of companies in the industry, we figured we offer our services to everyone. We have most bases covered when it come to photography: Architecture. Portrait. Fashion. Product. Landscape. Events.

 

[eltd_blockquote text=”We love to work with others like minded people within the community, who see the bigger picture and those who strive to make dreams a reality. We have met so many awesome people on our journey so far and are very grateful.” title_tag=”h2″ width=””]

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silenced hippie dope foto vert high there

Kawehi420, SilencedHippie, OhSheTokes | Dope Foto

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CM: I know that in Vegas, Dope Foto is an industry leader as far as cannabis photography goes.  Every cannabis company knows about Dope Foto and your work can be found throughout the city whether on canvas in dispensaries or on Weedmaps menus.  

Being an early mover in this industry as it still forms its identity, what are some of the obstacles you’ve faced in bringing your product to market?

 

Shannon: Because we are currently in the medical market I have noticed a lot of companies are staying frugal and waiting to spend until recreational. I feel once recreational come to full effect business should be booming. (smile)

 

CM:  That will happen for sure.  And as business booms and continues to grow, where do you see the industry going, let’s say, over the next 5 years?

Shannon: I would love to see the cannabis industry be the new pharmaceutical companies for our future. If not completely… I want to see more research happen along the years. I want to keep hearing stories of how cannabis saves and how it helps the lives of so many. 

I want weed to be normal.

CM:  I think that it is becoming more normal day by day  (smile). Shannon thank you  so much for taking the time to talk with me.  I love that you are providing quality visuals for the industry.  

 

Shannon:  Thank you for having me!

 Shannon Dorn Dope Foto

Shannon Dorn | Dope Foto 

 

 

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