My photo essay is the process of smoking a cigarette. I was originally planning to simply do the process of smoking a cigarette with my friend as the only model, taking the cigarette out of the pack, smoking, tinting, and then putting the cigarette out with his foot.
It seemed simple enough until I began taking the photographs. You don’t realize how long it takes to smoke a cigarette until you’re behind a camera and every detail matters. I ended up with a total of almost a hundred snap shots and when I arrived home to select the photos the ten frames seemed overwhelming.
So, I spiced it up a bit. It took a lot of thought and eye for detail but I realized that as my friend was smoking the cigarette the ash grew longer and longer, so I took matters into my own hands. I decided that I would take a single cigarette, light it, and watch it burn, have the ash build up and create some contrast to the portrait like shots I originally took.
When my friend was modeling I put my camera into the manual setting to experiment, everything looked so much more rich and crisp, I liked it. So, when I arrived home to experiment with the single burning cigarette I placed my camera into the manual setting again, zooming closely in on the cigarette to make it appear larger than life. The ash was so defined, the creases in the bottom of the cigarette captured the light, and it was a success.
I decided to separate the images of my friend smoking a cigarette with the larger than life close ups for I felt it added a feeling of passing of time. Each close up of the burning cigarette showed a marked difference in the quantity of ash, as to show my friend inhaling that much smoke.
On the walk to my apartment I spotted red brick staircases, I immediately thought of this project and thought the contrast would work perfectly. The setting of where my friend is smoking and the black background of the larger than life cigarette is intentional. I wanted to show a marked difference in not only setting but time. Due to the constant theme of the cigarette I don’t believe that the difference in color or setting is too harsh to digest.
As a whole I am satisfied with the outcome of my project. I think I illustrated not only the process of smoking a cigarette but the time that passes during the action.