Weekly Photo Challenge—Habit: Caged Smoker

I am not a smoker, and two things are true about that fact.

One, I was raised by two heavy smokers and therefore spend a lot of time out of doors compensating for the lack of fresh air in my childhood. Two, I can’t understand smokers; I understand about the process of addiction, but I also know that part of the addiction involves, and is dependent upon, the habits we associate with the act.

In this case, I deliberately stopped to photograph this woman behind the fence; the fence, to me, is a metaphor for her habit. At the same time I deplore her lack of freedom, (represented by the ‘cage’ the fence makes around her, and the sense of oppression it gives me) I love this picture. I love the way the light caught the smoke whorls coming off her cigarette, and the fact that there are spiderwebs in the fence just adds to the overall sense of entrapment.

The fact that her back is to the viewer symbolizes (for me) her lack of awareness; her face is turned from the observer because this is, presumably, where she always sits (you can see the shells she uses for her ashtray; at least, I imagine she uses them). She ‘always’ sits here, unaware of the effect she has on others, yet fascinating to observe in her solitary, quiet moment. 


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