Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Smokers’ camouflage sanctuary

Smokers’ camouflage sanctuary


In February 2018 I met my daughter for lunch and we settled in a Pret a Manger sandwich shop near Aldgate East station in London. 

My attention was contentedly fixed on my soup and salmon sandwich lunch when my daughter exclaimed “look at that!” Reluctantly looking up from my lunch my response was “at what?” with her emphatic answer “THAT” accompanied by her hand pointing through the window. No amount of hanging around on a street corner waiting for a ‘street photograph’ could generate what we were seeing. It happened, it was given to me: I couldn’t have made it up. As I was off a street photography hunt I had the X Vario with me and I rattled off some shots through the window (hence the reflections).

The photo looked like a candidate for a Macfilos submission but, as my mind ran through a number of possibilities, I wondered what tale I would tell. Was the woman deliberately wearing camouflage clothing to match the graffiti or was it only an unconscious act resulting in a ‘bad clash day’? More prosaically and more likely, leaving wild imaginings aside, she was just stopping for a quick call and a cigarette.

I surmised that in these days when smokers experience so many restrictions as to where they can indulge some are driven to find places where they can blend in camouflaged, hidden from and unseen by an increasingly hostile world. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for strategically placed street art with shadows painted on walls to provide ‘smoking sanctuaries’ where smokers can disappear against the shadows and light up in secret. Maybe it will start a new trend.



  1. Nice image Kevin. As a non-smoker I actually enjoy going in a bar, or cafe since they banned smoking in public places.

  2. What an observant daughter you have. And well done for sharing your chance discovery with us. You are quite right to philosophize with us about blending in with available backgrounds. At least you could enjoy your meal in a smoke-free zone.

  3. This is one of those marvellous pictures where colour, form and happening all come together in a harmony – and dare I say? – a beauty, which transforms all the ugly and discordant elements into a remarkable whole. Thank you for not keeping it to yourself – and for using the right camera, of course!

  4. This image made my day! If this image does not inspire a "street photographer" to go out hunting nothing will. I love that it stimulates questions in the mind of the viewer and you have captured the gesture with the cigarette to create further interest. Thanks for sharing!


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