One, One Thousand | Southern Photography


Smoke Break
by Laura Noel

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Project statement:

My pictures concern the attitudes - defiance, enjoyment, and resignation and contentment - of those who continue to smoke cigarettes in the face of public condemnation. More importantly, these portraits reveal that for some smokers, cigarettes are a way to enter a state of contemplation. This introspective pause in a hectic world is more valuable than non-smokers imagine.

A residue of glamour can also be seen in these photographs - the theatrical inhaling and exhaling, the sensual pleasure of watching the 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.

The pull of addiction and self-image is strong as evidenced by these images.


Bio and contact:

Laura Noel was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where she continues to live and work. She received a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and a MFA in Photography from the University of Georgia. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China, the Contemporary American Photography exhibition at the Internationale Fototage Festival in Mannheim, Germany, Gallery 24 in Berlin, the Hunter Museum of American Art, The Griffin Museum of Photography, The Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Jackson Fine Art, Lumiere, Gallery 1401 in Philadelphia, The Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, and The Gregg Museum of Art and Design.

Her photographs have appeared in on-line and in print in Photography Now, Photography Quarterly, PHOTONEWS (Germany), Lens Culture, Planet, Art News Daily, The Humble Arts Foundation, Fraction Magazine and many others. Recently her work inaugurated Fall Line Press’ Free Fall series of quarterly magazines featuring the work of one photographer.

Noel works as a professor at Emory University and as a freelance photographer.


Laura Noel is an Atlanta, GA, based photographer.
To view more of her work, please visit her website:
You can also contact Laura Noel by e-mail: