Graham Jeffery, the artist behind Sensitive Light shares some insight into his art of taking photographs of smoke in this Interview with Photocritic (which, by the way, is yet another excellent resource for photography teachers and students). From the interview:

“I am not trying to create pictures of smoke; I am trying to create pictures by using smoke”. This approach means that you have full creative licence to do what you want to manipulate the smoke as much as necessary — the only thing you have to worry about is getting an impressive final result.

I know what your thinking.

You're imagining your class of ninth graders (matchbooks in hand) eagerly looking around your room for things that will "burn well" for this project. Perhaps part of this lesson could be a "guided" exercize. You be the judge, you know your students best. However, that 'guided exercize' has the potential to become a creative project. To me, the effect produced by Jeffrey's smoke photographs opens creative possibilities in the same way looking at clouds conjures creative images. I can imagine students (or myself, for that matter) starting with a photograph of smoke and going from there.

What do you see?

What could you do to the photograph to transform it into something else? How can you manipulate that image - on the computer or off?

More pictures of Graham Jeffery's smoke can be found here.


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