Interview with CannamanTV
Throwback to last December’s interview.
I was invited by Cannaman to talk about my recently published photo book “Afghanistan, Fortress of Cannabis“. If you haven’t checked out the video yet and you want to know more about the book, you’ll find it just below. But after watching it, I realized that there were a few things to add and some pictures to show!
I didn’t do the book all by myself!
I forgot to mention two people, without whom the book would not have been possible.
First, thanks to Instagrammer @baaba879 for taking me through the cannabis fields, introducing me to chillum houses, and opening the doors of skilled hash makers, as well as having the courage and patience to let me join him on his adventures. I’ll write more about how we ended up meeting in my next blog post.
I also should have added that Angus from The Real Seed Company was the one who really helped me make sense of what I saw. He helped me sift through the academic literature and suggested books essential to writing a meaningful essay to go along with the photographs. We met in Peshawar in 2007. I talked a bit about Peshawar during the interview, and Angus also wrote about it here. We met the following year in Delhi, and I remember a rooftop conversation around some Afghan hash where we discussed the possibility of getting into Mazar through Uzbekistan. The idea never left me, and ten years later I was crossing the Amu Darya between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
Peshawar in 2007 and 2011
Angus described the feeling of traveling to Peshawar and staying at the Toutist Inn motel beautifully. I wanted to add a few images of this memorable time and place.
In the interview, Cannaman also asked me about “the time when I was briefly kidnapped,” as I put it in the book. Here are some images of that day.
The flying powder during sieving
During the interview, Cannaman mentioned that sieving cannabis was making him sneeze. I didn’t understand what he meant and thought he was still talking about the chillum. But I actually have some interesting things to add to that sieving sneeze!
You can see the photographs of the whole sieving process in the physical book. Notice that the skilled hash maker wears a mask, like a corona mask. Remember, I shot the pictures in 2018, so this was not for the Corona virus but to protect him from all the dust flying around during the sieving process. I was not wearing any, and yes, it does make you want to sneeze or at least cover your nose and mouth, even your eyes.
The agitation of dry material during sieving sends particles flying all over the place, which is probably why a second sieving with each sieve is required. But it’s really what falls under the sieve that is collected. I suspect particles light enough to fly around, being carried away by the wind, to be contaminants. The trichome heads falling through the sieve seem much heavier. So the delicate agitation movement could be a good way of cleaning the resin. Rice is cleaned in a similar way: as it is sent up in the open air, the dust flies away while the grains fall back into the sieve.
In Morocco, the resin is sometimes sieved in a bucket, beating wood sticks on a plastic sheet covering the dry material. This probably allows for more contaminants to pass through the sieves.
Here is the first blog post of 2023. The end of 2022 was rough with the release of the book, a home search by the police, and doing the accounting for the first time in my life! But I’m all set for 2023. The e-book is now available in German and Portuguese. The Italian and Spanish versions should be available by the end of March.