Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the Street…..Photographer, Paris

I don’t think I have ever posted this photo but I found it again while reviewing images on this grey gloomy Sunday.

The entire photo is all about that cigarette dangling from her mouth while she focuses the shot.

Someone asked if I would still take this photo if she wasn’t smoking

Yes, if she was blowing a bubble with gum!


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  1. honza03

    December 16, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Well, you posted it once. And I know that for sure because I loved it from the first time. Great capture.

  2. Nisse Bergman

    December 16, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Did you plant “Gloomy Sunday” as a reference to the hungarian suicide song? If you didnt check it out. One of the best songs ever. Listen to the Billie Holiday version by the way.

  3. lily

    December 16, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    and the curves, i think :P

  4. Anonymous

    December 16, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    that looks more like a joint than a cigarette

  5. Anonymous

    December 16, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Did you post this photo just to get a rise out of your anti-smoking contingent? Because it works. There’s nothing attractive about a woman slowly committing suicide, whose clothes and breath and hair smell disgusting. Who can’t even put down her cigarette in order to better focus (ha ha) on what she’s doing.

  6. svetlana nl

    December 16, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    her face skin (in contrast with the rest of the body)looks as bad as her cigarette

  7. Klokka

    December 16, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    well – love it! and yes, the photo is about the cigarette, sorts, but it wouldn’t have worked if it hadn’t been for the contrast to the keen concentration shown in her eye. absolute moment.

  8. ricpic

    December 16, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    Ah, ze French, zay have, how you say, le sex appeal.

  9. pretty kitty publishing

    December 16, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Actually, you will probably receive tons of e-mails from fans like me who won’t hesitate to say … yes, you have posted this one before … Wish I had the composure to wear such a dress when shooting my own photos!

  10. Easy and Elegant Life

    December 16, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I knew a photog at school (Johnny) who could smoke a cigarette better than anyone since Humphrey Bogart. He had the same way of doing just about anything, including shooting, while never taking the cigarette out of his mouth. In its own way it was kind of inspiring. The gift of focus.

  11. Anonymous

    December 16, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Like honza said before you’ve already posted it – it’s a sublime shot

  12. Anonymous

    December 16, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    I would think the cigarette would get in the way and interfere with the shot. Not too professional if you ask me.

  13. starbahks

    December 16, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    i love this.

  14. Tom

    December 16, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    I have seen this picture many times, but never with a woman. A cool new take.

  15. popcornstories

    December 16, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    she does it well. It’s a hard thing to do without looking crude.

  16. Iheartfashion

    December 16, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    What a multitasker!

  17. Anonymous

    December 16, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Dear Sart,

    I´m a long time reader and I’m sure you posted this beautiful photo already !

    Love and read you always,


  18. Anonymous

    December 16, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    smoking is NOT cool

  19. verdiales

    December 16, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    It’s all about her great skin and body.

  20. Unna

    December 16, 2007 at 8:05 pm

    I wonder what she is photographing. Wish I was in Paris. It seems so glamourous. Please take some glam shots for me! I love your blog.

  21. Miss Elle

    December 16, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    So ultra sexy… Unbearable.


  22. Erin

    December 16, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    What a HAG!! sorry, i love your work but i fail to see anything slightly fashionable, beautiful, creative or even aesthetically pleasing about this shot… which is what i personally feel your work is about.. i mean, if anyone can enlighten me on picture then please do..

  23. rmp

    December 16, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Yes, I’ve seen this before, but I believe it was quite a while ago.

    However, I don’t mind that you have posted it again, because it is one of my personal favorites from the blog.

    I hope you continue not to take those anti-smoking comments to heart. Although I am not a smoker, I have found that in several instances, on your site alone, that a cigarette has enhanced a photograph (including this one, as well as the photo of the young man with the spiked hair and headphones who has a cigarette in his mouth [possibly from last year]).

    A cigarette can be a very effective image in a photo, and I would prefer to see a great image of someone who happens to be smoking than be robbed of a great photo due to censorship.

  24. The Sartorialist

    December 16, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    For Erin
    You are free to not like this photograph and free to not understand it and even free to disagree with it but why do you have to call her a hag?

    You could have simply made your comment without making it personal against her

    that is really stupid of you and shows very little class
    (see, it doesn’t feel too nice does it)

  25. brooksie

    December 16, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Uhhh Sart, that’s NOT a cig sweets! :?)

    What’s she shooting?

  26. Elizabeth

    December 16, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    I knew you were going to hear from the anti-smoking fanatics.
    All the bad things they say about smoking are true; HOWEVER, none of the bad things they say about the shot or the woman are true. She looks fantastic.

    Your blog is an inspiration, keep up the great work.

  27. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Sart, you can capture the beauty in some very ugly habits. Love your work! :)

  28. Han

    December 17, 2007 at 1:58 am

    Yeah, you actually posted this once before. I think it was on here or on Either way, it’s a wonderful shot.

  29. Henning

    December 17, 2007 at 3:11 am

    Interesting how many readers refer to the cigarette and even get personal – it seems as if one needs to be extremely brave to just post a photo shot with a cigarette these days in the US.

    Try to be a little less (politically) correct from time to time – and let people smoke for heavens sake unless they disturb others…

    Just my 2c from good old Europe :-)

  30. Jessica M.

    December 17, 2007 at 3:57 am

    Like all your best work, a wonderful moment in time. Intense, interesting, well composed. The subject seems to be totally themselves, and also just fuckin’ rad.

    I am amazed it took more than a few minutes to get an anti-smoking response, though. We Americans really are just incredibly dictatorial about lifestyle and the choice of danger . . .

  31. Gabriela

    December 17, 2007 at 6:11 am

    For Erin, you should have read the comment: the picture was about the camera and the cigarette, not really about the outfit.

    I think that this girl is not a style icon, but it is nice to see sommeone with a real attitude and very focused in present and work.

    For Nisse Bergman, I have checked the youtube video. Great, great song and nice and ilustrative pictures. Thanks!

  32. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 8:19 am

    i like this. and could very well be a hand-rolled cig.

  33. morty

    December 17, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I think this is a very good picture. She masters two things at the same time and in a very eased way.

  34. sixfive

    December 17, 2007 at 10:33 am

    I remember this from the first time, since I loved the image.. but jeez everyone, relax on the cigarette talk (hand-rolled? or possibly something else, but whatever). There are probably no easily-influenced young people reading this blog. Give it a break.

  35. cacey

    December 17, 2007 at 11:57 am

    There is something very pleasingly androgynous about this girl’s focus/cigarette hanging hap-hazardly from her lip. Likeo someone else said it is a pose you usually see in photographs of men, but she looks absolutely at home in it. I am not a smoker either but I can’t deny that on certain people it looks damn cool.

  36. Jack Daniel

    December 17, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Would you still post this picture if she wasn’t smoking?

  37. Eryl Shields

    December 17, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    To me she is cool and a stye icon because she is relaxed and style, surely, is about being comfortable with one’s life, self and choices.

    I’m glad you posted this again, if only for the interesting conversation you have started. That’s art.

  38. zuccotto

    December 17, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Excellent shot, love it. Aside from the interplay of the focus and the dangling cigarette, I like the contrasts with the black dress and cord and camera and the white wall; I like the contrast with the warm brown ceiling and the photographer’s luminous skin.

    Like the slant of the white (doorjamb?) and the slant of the cord holding her id tag….

    and, as another poster said, the play of the various curves.

    Very satisfying photo.

  39. wolf

    December 17, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    the picture shows your skills capturing the right moment.

  40. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Of course that’s a cigarette! It’s a rollup. Those are the most fun to smoke because you have a whole ritual to making the cig.

    I love this girl.

    – desertwind

  41. Janky Swanky

    December 17, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    i think that is a marijuana cigarette!

  42. Anonymous

    December 17, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    You’ve definitely posted it before. I love it so much. It’s a pic that I think of when I think of how much I like having short hair much like hers. It’s an intellectual, creative power look in my book to wear a dress with a feminine short hair look (and the camera and cigarette work for me here :)).

  43. Blue Floppy Hat

    December 18, 2007 at 4:43 am

    That was a great shot the first time around, and it still is, even now. I think you’d said she was a photographer at Yves Saint Laurent, is that true?
    The cigarette, here, is an element that enhances the photograph. There’s no need to get sanctimonious about it, or slag her off.

  44. Honeybee

    December 18, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Why is it that some people get so upset when they even see a cigarette? All that “it’s bad for you so you can’t show it” is complete nonsense. Smoking is undisputably bad for you, however, the shot is great – just because of the cigarette. A non-smoker.

  45. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 9:09 am

    For those who think we who deplore images of cigarette smoking are “fanatics” — are you be okay with fashion images of people slowly killing themselves in other ways? I feel the same way when I see a shot of someone who looks anorexic…what’s so “politically correct” (a term that’s here used as an automatic reaction and therefore spurious) about promoting health in our images?

  46. Timothy

    December 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Folowing on from the previous post, people who say smoking isnt cool simply don’t get it.

  47. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 7:49 pm

    I think that the main problem I have with the anonymous comment of 9.09 AM is the phrase “promoting health in our images.”

    I don’t think any photographer who is capturing things as they are, not as we would wish them to be, should be in the business of “promoting health in our images.” What you are asking for is for photographers’ work to become an exercise in social engineering rather than reportage.

    The day The Sartorialist starts “promoting” anything other than what he sincerely thinks looks good is, if I recognise it, the day I stop visiting his column.

  48. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Some people are killing themselves with stress. Some people are killing themselves with – or without- food. Some people are risking killing themselves by not wearing a helmet, by having unprotected sex, by not looking both ways when they cross the street. Some people are killing themselves by damaging their immune systems through excessive exercise (former national-level amateur athlete here). I really believe that there is no place for sanctimonious anti-smoking talk on a blog about fashion. It’s an interesting shot to many people. Live and let live.

  49. Anonymous

    December 18, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    just as ridiculous as in this simpsons episode where Homer pretends to smoke to save his sister-in-law’s job and her boss slaps him and says: “you, sir, are worse than Hitler.”

  50. Mr. Badami

    December 18, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    it would be cool if someone took a photo of you taking a photo of her…..maybe you were doing something interesting yourself while you were shooting….

  51. dani

    December 19, 2007 at 2:23 am

    There are days when you must be “this close” to disabling comments I’m sure…
    But I’m (obviously) glad you continue extending such a privilege to your readers!

    This photograph has great merits:
    it tells a visual story, it has a clear point of view (no ambivalence or distractions) and it’s smartly arranged. I love the negative space around her and how, compositionally speaking, she “pushes on” the architecture that frames her, thus asserting her own action. A fine balance, finely done!

    (Your photographs always do the things above; I enjoy that you do it well with unplanned moments/people).


    December 19, 2007 at 10:56 am

    nice attitude

  53. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 11:08 am

    can’t believe no one else has done this yet..but…

    that p/ch/ic is smokin!!!

    hot that is.

    i dig it.

    and her camera is formidable.

  54. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    I personally think the look of pure concentration is what makes this picture (not the cigarette).BTW, I totally agree with live and let live. I don’t think the simple fact that she has a cigarette should stop anyone from posting the picture. I just hope it’s not posted only because of the cigarette, if that makes sense.

  55. Anonymous

    December 19, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    To “anonymous” who said a fashion blog is no place to discuss smoking doesn’t get that when cigarettes are an accessories in a fashion blog it glamorizes them. And it’s simply unattractive. We get to talk about other stuff that’s unattractive, like pants that are too short, so why not smoking?

  56. Anonymous

    December 20, 2007 at 11:26 am

    to anon 1050pm – when my children and i see photos like this, i take the opportunity to have a discussion about why smoking is a poor choice, as well as about how it influences the mood and feeling of the photograph itself.

    i find if i point and say ‘oh how horrible, i cant believe they published a photo like that’ it only intrigues my children – and i’ve given them no context for their own explorations into the matter, i’ve only expressed my disgust (which anyone with children will tell you, is the surest way to get them to see the cigarette in a positive light).

  57. Lori-Francoise

    December 23, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Showing The Sartorialist at his best. You know a lunch date with her would be a venture.

  58. Charlene K

    December 28, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    oh my.the comments sure maketh this blog..some stimulating lil debate goin on loves!
    n gosh all that talk abt smokin n anti smokin seem to have distracted our attention fr the artistic quality of the who dwell on negatives of smokin really dun get it.sad.

  59. Adina

    December 28, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    people get soo touchy about smoking, geez. cigarettes and fashion go hand in hand

    it’s a cool photo, she’s a multi tasker!

  60. Lori

    December 29, 2007 at 5:40 pm

    This shot is engaging. If The Sartorialist’s objective is at times to capture the essence of an individual–transcending space…he has succeeded with this captivating shot. Why muck up human’s “living life” with judgement? Let the photo speak for itself. It’s remarkable!

  61. Paige

    December 30, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    This is a wonderful shot because of the mood and attitude she brings to the photo. Some pictures look cool, just because they look cool. And as for the cigarette. I like the fact that she’s smoking.

  62. Jenava

    January 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    This reminds me of a performance. For me I think the cigarette works because her mouth is concentrating just as hard as her eye. That’s why this works. Her outfit reminds me of a modern dance costume, which works with the tenseness of her figure and face. We wonder what she is taking a photo of because, whatever it is, it has consumed her whole figure. Her hair is cool, too.

  63. irinalis

    January 15, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    great job! On the Street….Anna and friend at Burberry – they are really amasing :))

  64. Turkuaz Deniz

    January 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    oh yes, this is a wonderful shot with “the cigarette”. she looks super cool.

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