A blog containing photographs, ideas, discussion and image manipulation tutorials from incurable hippie, a disabled photographer in the north of England. All this, plus inspiration from others' photographic work, and technical aspects of photography.

03 December 2007

Ninety Smokers by Dan Donovan


Dan Donovan undertook an interesting project. To create a photographic documentary of smoking in the run-up to the smoking ban. He photographed smokers, smoking in places where it would soon become illegal.

I undertook this project with the aim of taking a series of portraits of smokers in locations that will be affected by the smoking ban; to archive the final moments of their freedom to smoke publicly.
This collection of work isn’t about either promoting or vilifying the act of smoking; it’s intended to capture an honest representation of smoking culture in Britain pre-July 2007.
The act of smoking has been increasingly demonised over the last number of years and these portraits take in individuals from all over England, from every walk of life, who were prepared to make a visual statement of their objection to being represented in this negative way.
The people here are law-abiding citizens who would be committing a criminal offence if they posed for a photograph in the same location today.


Interesting extra:
On my travels I met up with two people who work in the field of mental health, Kate Parry in Oxfordshire and Steve Thompson in Derbyshire. Steve says Nicotine has been shown to reduce the side-effects of psychoactive medication – more than 90 per cent of people with schizophrenia smoke, and nicotine is being used by self-medicating sufferers. Steve has been challenging attempts to try and outlaw smoking for patients.


You can see his collection of ninety smokers, and read the story behind it on his website.

1 comment:

Claire said...

This is really interesting- re: possible benefits of nicotine, I have chronic pain (as you know!) and I've spoken to other people in similar situations who medicate pain with nicotine amongst other things. I have a friend with MS who swears by it and I must admit it also appears to have an effect in that direction for me. Of course this could be placebo/eliminating effects of nicotine withdrawal related, but it is interesting. The info re: psych drugs sounds like it might have more of a tested basis to it and is fascinating stuff.

However I can't see them having much success in allowing people with psych issues to smoke; the answer they'd probably get is to look at other methods of administering nicotine, it's similar to the argument around cannabis; cannabis clearly has pain relieving qualities but they're synthesising a spray containing the active ingredients rather than allowing people to smoke it/bake it into brownies.

However I would say that if nicotine does have a marked effect on side effects of psych drugs it ought to be getting prescribed in any case. Sure, patches lozenges gum etc doesn't give you the same "hit" as a cigarette does, but I'm sure they could invent something that did. Pretty irresponsible of them not to prescribe it, under the circumstances.

Apols for rambling and bad punctuation...

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