My Story


A wandering photographer with a taste for tradition and authenticity




The first trip


My name is Lucas Strazzeri. I was born in 1985 in Grenoble, France. I started traveling at 20 years old with a one-way ticket to India and the plan to come back home overland. Arriving in Lahore, Pakistan was a life-changing experience. The food was amazing, the people were so welcoming, and I was in awe of Islamic architecture. Attending Thursday’s Sufi Night really blew my mind and triggered an interest in Sufism. From there, I traveled to Peshawar, the beautiful Hunza Valley, Pakistani Kashmir, Chitral, and the weed fields of Mastuj. The idea of going to Afghanistan was floating around among travelers. Some of them were traveling for hash, others for seeds. With them, I learned about landraces and how good hash is made. All agreed that the best stuff was in Afghanistan. I would understand it later, but 2007 was probably the last year to travel around most of Afghanistan. The Khyber Pass was still open to tourists, and I got briefly kidnapped while trying to reach the Landi Kotal hash market. The end of the journey took me through Iran, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.


Back in France, I decided to take another one-way ticket to India with what was left of my money. There were places I wanted to see, and others I wanted to go back to. This time around I knew how to get by cheaply. Politics had changed in Pakistan, and the day I applied for a visa from Kathmandu, Benazir Bhutto was shot. So instead, I flew to Beirut, Lebanon. There, I went to the Beqaa Valley and spent two weeks tasting different hash and talking with farmers. Stories of the hippy times were delectable, coming from grandpas who remembered that era with shiny eyes. From there, I went into Syria. It was 2008.



Between California and Asia


From 2009 to 2011, I lived in Berlin, and I went back for two months to Pakistan in 2010. I wanted to travel through the country’s south, from Lahore to Karachi, visiting sufi shrines. The mood had radically changed since 2007, and the country was deserted by tourists. Rumors of CIA operations caused a lot of suspicion around me, and I later understood that it was around this time that the U.S. government had confirmed the presence of Usama Ben Laden in the country. Hearing a bomb explode in Peshawar convinced me to take a wiser approach to my travels.


In 2012, I spent a year between San Diego and Tijuana and passed a diploma to teach French as a foreign language. I found a job in Mangalore, South India, and spent 6 months teaching on weekdays and traveling on weekends. Back in France in 2013, I worked as an English teacher for five years, with various short trips to India, and a road trip to Morocco. I visited the Rif region and spent a few days in a hashish producer’s home in Bab Berred. Stories linking hippies and hashish would frequently mention Afghanistan as a major influencer in the hash making process, from Morocco to Nepal, India, Pakistan, or Lebanon.



Getting serious with photography


In 2015, with a friend, we started producing photo reports of the European Sound System scene. This is how I became more professionally interested in photography. I bought a decent camera with two good lenses, learned how to post-process a photo, and developed my skills. I always had a point-and-shoot camera while traveling, and I often tried to capture the details that got me starry-eyed.


After three years of parties, I wanted to travel again, and in 2018, Afghanistan was still on my mind. I thought that if I could make it for the harvest season, I could maybe get some good pictures of the Afghan cannabis culture. My initial goal was not to publish a book, but I came back with better pictures than I hoped for, and none of the press outlets I contacted replied. With the aim of showing these photographs to a large audience, I took matters into my own hands and created a photobook. Without a budget nor much experience in publishing, I did the design and found a print-on-demand service. The first version of Afghanistan: Fortress of Cannabis sold for around 200 copies. Most of the benefits were used to send copies to major cannabis authors and to activists in connection with Afghan cannabis.


The cannabis press has been a bit more responsive, and I was published in Soft Secrets and Cannabis Now. My story was also published and translated into various languages in collanboration with Vice. Menwhile, the book received positive reviews from Robert C. Clarke, Ed Rosenthal, Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, Frenchy Cannoli, Mila Jansen, Mel Frank and Peter Maguire. Ed Rosenthal also used three of my pictures to illustrate his Cannabis Grower’s Handbook.



Focusing on cannabis photography


I started to get into cannabis photography more professionally during the pandemic, acquiring a new camera body, some macro lenses, and a focus stacking rail. With the help of a powerful computer to merge hundreds of images into one, I am able to produce detailed photographs of dry buds, flowers, trichomes, and concentrates. I am currently collaborating with underground seedbanks to illustrate their catalog and increase their social media engagements. With a growing CBD market in France and Switzerland, and the hope of a long-awaited ease in cannabis regulations across Europe, I am on the lookout for new collaborations with innovative cannabis companies focused on authenticity and sustainability.



Futur projects


A new version of Afghanistan: Fortress of Cannabis is in the works for 2022. The goal is to have a higher page count and more content without raising the price. The book will be available to retailers and sold in a more traditional way. With an economically viable format, I am hoping to be able to sustain the book’s life for as long as there is an interest in it. As Afghanistan is spiralling down to its darkest times, I hope to send parts of the benefits to the people who are pictured in the book.


If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.

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