In America, smokers have become social refugees banished to windy corners, cars, and private homes. I am interested in the idea that the nation has become so disenchanted with smoking that we have tried to legislate smokers out of existence.
Although more than 20 percent of the United States population smokes cigarettes, this large group has been exiled from the public space while indulging. I am interested in the small rebellions and compulsions that propel people to continue smoking in the face of public condemnation.
Addiction, of course, is largely responsible, but I have noticed that there is often a residue of glamour that smokers crave. The image of a 1940s movie star languidly smoking a cigarette signaled sophistication and elegance. The faint echo of that false glamour can be seen in these portraits.
The enjoyment of the act, the often theatrical pause, and the ability to take a break from the work day and think or converse with friends for a few minutes as the cigarette burns down are more meaningful than non-smokers would imagine.
Deliver Me explores a diverse group of Americans united by a dangerous habit.