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Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

Learn | 12.14.2021

ZOOMED: A Q&A With The Photographer Behind @immigrantstoner

To get to know Keti better, we asked her to share some of her favorite snaps, and answer a few questions.

Keti Chikhladze was born in Georgia—not the state, but the small Eurasian country nestled in the Caucasus region, bathed by the Black Sea.

Considered to be one of the earliest occupied territories in history, it’s also known to be the ‘cradle of wine’ (archeologists have found traces of its production dating back to 6,000 B.C.) and most recently, for being one of the first countries in the world to legalize the consumption of cannabis. 

We came across Keti’s work via her Instagram account, @immigrantstoner, where she features rugged men and striking women in beautiful landscapes and mountain lodges, partaking in cannabis through ritualistic manners that result in a visual representation of our connection with nature.

Across this gift guide and on our website, you will find some of her photos sprinkled across the pages.

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Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

When was the first time you picked up a camera?

When I was around 13 or 14 years old, my father worked some gigs as an event photographer in clubs, so he bought a professional camera. His friends were models and designers who would come over to our house wearing really cool outfits and doing creative shoots.

I was inspired and he let me borrow his camera. I started shooting a lot with my friends, exploring all kinds of ruins around the town, and discovering weird places.

When was the first time you picked up a joint?

I didn’t try cannabis until I moved to America since Georgia was always so strict with drug policies and had cannabis scheduled in the same category as heroin [that changed in 2018]. I smoked my first joint and got super high and crossfaded with my mom and our roommate when I moved to Seattle—it was fun!

Based on your Instagram, one could say you live a perfect life, always in nature… is that the case? Or are there days when you have to work hard? How do you combine work and play?

I definitely have fun working, but my life is far from perfect. I moved to America because thankfully my mom got me out of the country which was going through horrible corruption and poverty because of the Soviet Union dissolution.

I am very lucky to have work that I enjoy and get to do in this beautiful state [Washington], but I also always have to make sure to work enough to be able to provide for the rest of my family back in Georgia, which is always a big responsibility. 

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Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

How are stoners regarded in your birthplace?

It’s actually a little tricky. Possession and consumption have been legal since 2018, but unfortunately selling or buying is not yet allowed. This means nobody really gets arrested for it anymore, but it is still not legal all the way. I would say it’s decriminalized. 

How often do you go back? What strain do you smoke when you’re visiting?

I go back usually once a year to visit my family. I smoke whatever locals are growing, which is always interesting since their ways are always so different, even if the seeds mostly come from Amsterdam.

How is cannabis from Georgia different from the USA?

It’s definitely nowhere near as strong. Washington state has some of the best weed around the world, so I have to say I’ve been spoiled here.

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Photo by Keti Chikhladze, @immigrantstoner

What can Georgia learn from the USA and what can the USA learn from Georgia in terms of cannabis?

Georgia can definitely learn more about growing techniques! The USA could learn some tips about organic nutrients and traditional farming ways.

Where can you get the best khachapuri (a traditional Georgian dish) in your neck of the woods?

There is a little Georgian cafe in downtown Seattle called Skalka, and they serve mouthwatering Khachapuri. Honestly one of the best stoner foods! Vegan versions are delicious, with mushrooms… My favorite! 

What’s a location you dream of shooting while smoking?

Since we’re talking about dreams… This might sound ridiculous, but I would love to blaze in a space rocket. Who knows, maybe it will be possible one day since Elon Musk is not really against weed!

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