Credit: Marzena Abrahamik

How to illustrate our annual pot issue?

It would have been easy to take a picture of a giant bud and call it a day, but we also wanted something to tie several stories together while visualizing the mood enhancing effects of marijuana. So we decided to do a still life with common elements to illustrate each story. For that, we needed some pot leaves.


Having photographer Marzena Abrahamik the shoot the still life in a studio was an easy choice; she has a fantastic eye for color and composition and was able to take it in the direction we had been discussing. 

We dug up props to illustrate the stories.

For the cover, we used an acrylic lamp in the shape of a pot leaf.

Other props included a wolf for our story on flamed-out “cannabis candidate” Benjamin Thomas Wolf, an ashtray shaped like Illinois for the story on Governor Buzzkill Bruce Rauner and his opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. A piece of broccoli and apple hollowed out were used to illustrate our story on culinary cannabis (they were used as pipes during a gourmet dinner).

What we couldn’t find were fake pot leaves that were the right size and color. So we made our own.

We printed them out on sheets of paper in a color that blended with the rest of the props, and then went to the Harold Washington Library Makers Space to use a laser cutter the center has for public use. With the help of the friendly staff at the space, who helped set up the machine, we were able to create a pile of pot leaves that was just right for the still life.

Best of all, it was free.

Credit: Jamie Ramsay
Credit: Jamie Ramsay