Smoke photography, also known as smoke art, in its simplest definition is photography or art that features smoke. It can be the subject matter itself or the medium used to create works of art. As a subject matter in smoke photography, its beauty and purity becomes the focal point, resulting in an impressive and inspirational art form. Used as a medium to create an art piece, smoke becomes the ‘paint’ for artists in which stunning artworks are produced.
Image credit: pClip1
The beginnings of this art form started with the talented Graham Jeffery of Sensitive Light fame, whose phenomenal photographs reached worldwide recognition via the Web. One of the reasons for the popularity of this art form is perhaps the ease with which smoke can be produced and used. All you need is a matchstick, a camera and a little ingenuity. Smoke art and smoke photography allows the artist to produce alluring and mysterious images with its ethereal quality which is aleatoric. As such, the artist is only limited by his or her own creativity and never the subject matter’s random beauty.
One of the fascinating aspects of smoke photography, especially when mirrored, is the different interpretations and responses it can evoke in people. Due to its random quality, like with the ink blot test or cloud watching, what a particular individual notices will differ greatly from another because we are all individuals with different experiences and personalities. The objects or images we attach to the shapes we see, allows others to have a glimpse of our individual personality. In fact, this may help us to become more imaginative as we try to compare the shape to something we have seen and are more familiar with.
In this article, we present 60 examples of gorgeous smoke photography and smoke art that accentuate the beauty and essence of smoke.
40 Amazing Smoke Photographs
Even without the use of Photoshop and any manipulations, the way smoke forms naturally is beautiful in itself. Sometimes all it takes is a good high-speed strobe flash and the correct exposure to create an amazing piece of smoke photography.
20 Fabulous Smoke Arts
Take a look at how smoke, in its most basic form, with a touch of ingenuity and a play on colours can create a masterpiece. We hope these 20 works of art will inspire you to have a little fun with the magic of smoke art as well.
- Speckyboy: 20 Beautiful Examples of Photoshopped Smoke Art and Technique Tutorials
- Smashing Magazine: Smoke Photography and Smoke Art
- Digital Photography School: Smoke Art Photography – An Introduction
- Chill Out Point: The Magic Of Smoke Photography
- Jhoque: How to Photograph Smoke – Step-by-Step Tutorial
- 10Steps: Creating a Smoke Fading Effect
To Smoke or Not to Smoke?
Please take note that our intention is not to promote smoking. Although smoke is associated with fire and cigarettes, with this article, we are only looking at how smoke can be used in art and photography and perhaps try to learn more about smoke and its form.