When Jeramie Lu started shooting for Kynd Cannabis Company, we needed him to take the kind of photos that would tell the stories of not only our many cannabis strains and products, but also our athlete and creative ambassadors. That wasn’t a problem for Jeramie – he’ll tell you himself, he loves the challenge of telling a story with a single image. The self-taught photographer has and continues to exceed our expectations, and with his newfound introduction to cannabis, it only made sense to get this guy on our team. Yep, we’re thrilled to announce that Jeramie Lu is the newest Kynd creative ambassador.
Behind the Camera
Before he picked up a camera, Jeramie was a massage therapist. But the impending arrival of their second child – the first birth for Jeramie and his wife, who adopted their oldest daughter – and a broken camera would set big things in motion. “I had a little point and shoot,” Jeramie explains, “and it broke, so I decided to go over to Best Buy and I bought a camera. I’m a geek and a nerd, so as soon as I got the camera, I took a picture and I was like, my images are crap. What do I do to make it better? So I taught myself how to become a photographer. There’s so much to learn, and then I kept progressing and progressing and progressing, until people started paying me for it.”
It’s a tidy and modest explanation of how the award-winning photographer got his start. In the beginning, he continued his career in massage while he worked to grow his fledgling photography business. But his preference was clear from the beginning. “When I was doing massage, I would just count the minutes until it was over,” he says. “The clients were amazing, but when it was over, there was nothing gratifying about it. Whereas photography, I could show my images, it could last awhile, and there was way more money in it.”
The biggest little city has its share of talented photographers, and standing out here is saying something. But Jeramie is making waves on an international level, and it’s easy to see why. While he loves family and wedding portraiture, it’s commercial photography that really gets his creative juices flowing. “I think, although any image will tell a story, the challenge of this product, these people, this location, put it together and create an amazing epic image,” he explains. “I like that, it kind of opens my mind a little bit. Although I love shooting kids, families, weddings, all that, theoretically it’s the same format each time. They want the memories, but it’s nothing as exciting as being able to take one little thing and make something amazing out of it.”
When Jeramie came on board, the company was transitioning from the work of a former photographer who was no longer available. “I did a couple of test shoots, tried to mimic what they had been doing,” Jeramie says, “and then luckily Kynd started letting me shoot what I wanted to shoot, some more creative things, to bring things into my style. I’m actually more excited about the future and what we’re able to do than what we’ve done. Just some really cool, creative things to show the beauty of what’s happening.”
The more he was around the stars of the shoots – the cannabis products themselves, and our creative and athlete ambassadors who are singing their praises – the more interested Jeramie became. “Before I started with Kynd, I actually never took any cannabis at all,” he says. “I never tried anything. It’s not that I was anti, it just wasn’t in my world, my circle of friends. I didn’t have access to it, and I didn’t really understand it. So I was able to learn a little bit more about it, and my goal was, everything we’re shooting, it’s less the girls, the bikinis and rooms full of smoke, that just wasn’t realistic. I wanted the vision to be something new.”
While he was refining that creative vision, he was sharing all he was learning with his social media following. “I kind of started just helping a little bit on how we should be focusing on these creative ambassadors because I do a lot of these BTS (behind the scenes) for the videos that come out, and just kind of being around it, I was educating myself, and naturally pushing out the products,” Jeramie explains. That desire to spread awareness made him a natural fit as an ambassador.
The Educator Role
“A lot of people want to try it, they’re just intimidated,” he says. “They’ve actually never walked into a dispensary, going, oh this is what a dispensary looks like. In their mind, it’s like a dude’s house. I tell them, it’s kind of like a medical office, you kind of learn and play a little bit. I naturally push this out. I push out what I like. And that’s how people kind of follow things. Whether it’s photography, it’s dad life, or cannabis, I’m not a heavy pusher of it, but this is what I use, this is how I use it, this is how it helps me. If it can help you too, I’m happy to show you.”
Now, in his official capacity as creative ambassador, you can practically see Jeramie’s gears already turning. “Growing up, it was always taboo to talk about cannabis,” he says. “But now I think it’s a little more sophisticated. I’m excited about it, I’m excited to change the minds of a lot of people. I’ve been doing a couple of product reviews on the cannabis that I use, and I think a lot of people are going like, bro, I didn’t even know that you did that, how are you functioning throughout the day? And I’m like, here’s my chance to educate you on what you should be using and why. I think that as busy as I am, working 16, 18 hours a day, family life, all these extra projects, I think people would just never assume that cannabis actually helps me in my day-to-day life.”
Learning the Ropes
Jeramie approached cannabis like he does anything – tons of research and trial and error. “I was able to go to Mynt and I told them, this is what I need and want, and they kind of guided me through it,” he says. “So we’ve tested the vape pens, lots of chocolates, lots of gummies. I like that kind of stuff.”
As a father of four and a successful businessman, Jeramie’s interest in cannabis relates to the specific benefits it can offer him. Because of his upbringing, he’s also wary with over-the-counter medications. “I grew up Asian, I always joke about this,” he laughs, “which means that we were anti pharmaceutical anything. It was always tiger balm, green oil, we’d just rub everything all over our bodies. And so, I never wanted to take a bunch of anything that was foreign to my body.”
To that end, Jeramie uses the 300mg CBD tincture and cannabis strains high in CBD. “When I’m shooting, I’m more on the CBD route,” he explains. “It really just lets me focus less on the pain, especially when I’m holding heavy camera, or I have a shoulder bag. I’m a little more interactive with the kids or the client base. It definitely helps me. Could I do it without it? Totally. But why? That’s kind of the thing – why go through that pain if you don’t have to?”
His approach is sensible. “I honestly treat it like food,” he says. “Because I had a career as a therapist in the past, I have a lot of repetitive strain injury.” Jeramie loves the Kynd balm to address those aches and pains.
As an ambassador, Jeramie plans to continue leading by example and challenging misconceptions. “The mentality that only certain people take cannabis needs to be gone,” he says. “I’m not sitting on my house all day, I’m not eating potato chips, I’m not losing money. That’s not what cannabis is supposed to do. If anyone does have a negative connotation about it, I highly suggest they do some research, they talk to real people who are using cannabis, even come to the dispensary and just ask questions. A little bit of education goes a long way.”