Prop Peek – The Ciggies
I am not a smoker, not even a casual one. In fact, the pictured pack of Camels is one of only two I’ve purchased over the last few years. My photog buddies lament my stale cigarettes every time we shoot. :-) But! Time and time again, I use cigarettes in my photos. Why?
1) Characters smoking cigarettes have an instant edge. E.g., put a young girl in a polka dot dress on the waterfront. She’s mysterious, maybe, but she could just be enjoying the view. NOW, put a cigarette in her hand that’s wafting smoke. Suddenly she’s bad. She has a vice, an edge. And her character has an added dimension to further interest the viewer. What has she done to that unfortunate fool on the boat? How brazen of her to take time to smoke a cigarette while she should be running. Ah, but she doesn’t *need* to run, because she’s cool. Cool as a cucumber. Nope, she’s just gonna take a breather and revel in her work.
2) Smoke in a still image adds movement and texture. It can also add mystery if a character’s face is partially to fully obscured by it.
3) Smoking in public is nearly obsolete, so it helps back-date photos to give them a more retro feel.
Why, right now, even as I type, I’m brainstorming another shot featuring the ciggies. Oooh, one to add to my Creep Series. Better get on that…only 15 more days to shoot 8 more photos.
In the meantime, happy prop hunting!