Gail, Behind Her Room, 2006
Laura Noel has been photographing the sneaky fag break for several years. I like what she says on her website about this project so I'll leave it to her to expand. Check out her other work, too. When I hear photographers saying they don't know what to shoot, I want to send them to people like Laura.
Whitney, Behind Her Job, 2006
"Though this is a fairly broad subject, I am primarily interested in visualizing the emotions involved in the decision to smoke. I consider these portraits to be psychological in nature, as well as an examination of the places smokers have retreated to. The pull of self-image and addiction is very strong.
My pictures concern the attitudes - defiance, enjoyment, resignation, and contentment - of those who continue to smoke cigarettes in the face of public disapproval. More importantly, these portraits reveal that for some smokers, cigarettes are a way to enter into a state of contemplation.
This introspective pause in a hectic world is more valuable to smokers than non-smokers would imagine."
Amy, In Her Backyard, 2005
"A residue of glamour can also be seen in these photographs - the theatrical inhaling and exhaling, the sensual pleasure of watching smoke float and dissipate in the air, and the primal tie to fire. Though we may not approve of the act, we can understand the appeal of smoking, however false it may turn out to be.
Since the anti-smoking movement began gaining momentum in the 1970's, culminating in the current ban on public consumption, smokers have become social refugees banished to windy corners, cars, and private rooms. I am interested in exploring the idea that society has become so disenchanted with smokers, that we have tried to legislate them out of existence."
Barry, Behind The Lab, 2010
"Of course, smoking is unhealthy and potentially fatal, but my images are not a defense of this dangerous practice, but instead a portrait of a diverse group of people united by a habit."
All images © Laura Noel