Brilliantine coils of cigarette smoke, curling away like dreams


“I used to think that all I wanted was the good opinion of honorable men and the ungrudging love of beautiful women. Now I know for sure that all I really want is a cigarette.” Quote from “The Singing Detective”.

Continuing my night photography efforts at soccer training across the road, I think I might have finally nailed it. Canon 5D, EF 35mm f1.4 L, 1/6 sec @ f2.8, 1600 ISO. I like the irony displayed in this image, with the coach smoking while his superbly fit athletes run around on this oh-so-cold night.

There is a strange footnote to this image. I asked this fellow if I could take this shot, and before he replied with permission, he said in a really strange and questioning manner “I know you…” Oh dear, here it comes. I was thinking. But it turned out he remembered me in a pleasant way from the late 1980s when I used to frequent a small cafe named Poci’s Pizza, where he was the cook. We patrons used to get falling down drunk every lunchtime that we went there. No wonder he remembered me.

One of the players had a muscle problem (Canon 15mm F2.8 fish-eye) and so the coach lent a hand to massage it away, cigarette still firmly in place. I framed the second image to back-light his cloud of smoke, as it seems to me to be a focal point of this series of images. I wish I had had such dedication when I was a smoker.

Second footnote – Poci’s Pizza closed in about 1989. I gave up smoking on 17 December 1998. I still drink too much, but I’ve never looked back.

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