It is with a heavy heart and incalculable sadness that I must report that “Freebie,” one of High Times’ most talented and prolific photographers, has passed away at the tragically young age of 44.
I personally hired Freebie sometime in the mid-‘90s, after he and his then-partner Lochfoot had sent me an unsolicited portfolio of cannabis photos that had been shot through the eye of a microscope. They were simply beautiful—scientific, yet playful. At the time there were almost no photographers of Freebie’s caliber focusing on the cannabis plant, and while Freebie also enjoyed a successful career outside the cannabis world, the contributions he made to High Times revolutionized the look of our magazine. He has since contributed thousands of photos to us, including the cover photos on more issues than I could possibly count.
Freebie was more than just a contributor—to me, he was also a close friend, collaborator, and a partner on several journalistic adventures. One time the two of us rented a rust-bucket car and drove up and down the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, bouncing over the pitted roads, stopping at the roadside taco stands and searching for mota in some unbelievably sketchy places. Nearly a decade later, the two of us collaborated on the first article High Times ever published about the cannabis scene in the Czech Republic. Once again, our sense of adventure was on high alert as we transcended the language barrier and talked our way into gardens and grow rooms in and around Prague.
Maybe the funniest assignment we ever had was a photo shoot for an upcoming feature I was writing about Bigfoot hunters. I went and dropped $100 on a Sasquatch costume and brought it on the plane with me from New York to California. After my arrival in the Bay Area, we drove two hours north to Mendocino County, where an old buddy of Freebie’s who had a thriving outdoor garden he was ready to harvest greeted us. The idea was to capture Sasquatch in the wild—if he was a pot grower. Of course, I had to wear the hairy Bigfoot suit in the sweltering California heat, but it was worth it. The two of us howled with laughter trying to think up the most ridiculous scenarios we could—Bigfoot trimming his harvest, Bigfoot driving an ATV through his garden, Bigfoot checking his plants for mold. As sad as I am at his passing, I think about that day, and I feel great joy for having known my buddy and brother Freebie.
Good-bye, my friend.