I don’t smoke...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

But have an odd fascination with old photographs of people smoking.

(Hildegard Knef)

And on the subject, my friend Thomas sent me this photo (shown above) today with the message ‘When people still knew how to smoke and look pretty’. After reading that it finally dawned on me why I love old photographs of people smoking more than say current ones, something to do with a time when people looked elegant and pretty while smoking and also the innocence of the deed... before Surgeon General’s warnings came into play with fear, guilt and even (as my sister Anna who smokes would tell you) the public displays of disdain that are often attached. Here are more pretty smokers and a great video (with a tremendously good song) all for the sake of nostalgia:

My Bloody Valentine 'Cigarette In Your Bed'
(Great video for a game of 'Name that film!')

'Teenage Girls Just Hanging out'

'Wife of Rudolph Friml During a Cruise' (ca.1922)

Woman with a 'cocktail whistle' (ca.1935)

'Teenage girl sitting in profile position'

'A woman lies on a window seat smoking a cigarette'

'Young Brunette Woman Reclining On Pillows'
by H. Armstrong Roberts (ca.1938)

Sources: All photos after video courtesy of Corbis.


muchlove said...

I'm no smoker either, but you're absolutely right about old photographs that make it look like a part of elegance in those days.

Carlotta said...

agree smoking pics are very sexy and old fashioned!! never smoked in my life :)


Yes, I too am finding those old smokes romanticized again. It is so old, and taboo, it seems vintage but, it's not.

I have never been I smoker, only because I grew up watching my Mother and all her single friends social-circle-smoking out on the steps every Sunday. It swirled around my head.
I snatched one from them to show them how stupid they looked, and they soon quit...one by one. Done

Chrisy said...

I know what you mean...hate smoking but the photos!..I've got a Taschen book here titled Feu D'Amour: Seductive Smoke....gorgeous glamorous pics!

drollgirl said...

ah, these b&w pics are so sexy and elegant!!!

my bf smokes and LORD i wish he would stop. SIGH. and he wishes i would relax and smoke with him. BAH!

btw, i always love your comments, especially the one you left about the pleasure you found in me exploiting men on my blog. probably the best comment i have ever received -- it made me so proud! BAHAHHAHAH!!!! :)

hope you have a fabulous weekend. cheers!


...hate to admit this, but I find the image of smoking quite romantic... I watched Catherine Denueve in the movie, "The Hunger" & the image her blowing smokes still lingers in my mind to this day!


TheDecoDetective said...

They look kind of cool! I think Audrey Hepburn once said that one piece of advice she got from her mother was not to smoke more than five cigarettes a day. Maybe that's the key to staying pretty??

_nina_malvada_ said...

beautiful photos..

i think that all these girls used to look so pretty just beacuse people back then hadn't realised what smoking could cause to them...

a cigarette was something like an accessorie... (innocent times..)

miriam said...

hmmm yes, smoking does look very sexy in photos and on film!

Rebecca said...

I agree that smoking can look so glamorous and cool! However, as far as tastes/smells go, I find it to be very unpleasant. :) It used to be so innocent! My grandma has told me stories about how, growing up in the 30s, she and her friends would run around rolling up anything they could find and smoking it [kinda scary]! Very strange. Neat video - I always forget to listen to My Bloody Valentine, but I like them!

Maddie said...

i think these photos are beautiful and glamorous as well. but i'm glad, for the sake of everyone's health, that smoking isn't glamorized so much anymore. BUT it did make for romantic, beautiful film and photograph moments at one point.

Cafe Fashionista said...

I'm on the same boat as you. I especially adore the photographs of Flapper girls with bow-shaped lips and fringe-encrusted dresses doing the Charleston with cigarette in hand. There's something so...seductive about it.

But no, I don't smoke. In fact, oddly enough, I can't stand smokers. So yes, this comment is quite a contradiction on my part. :)

bloo. said...

I don`t like cigarettes.
the ugly smell :D:D ..
hah !



Couture Carrie said...

Indeed, there is something alluring in these photos! And since they didn't know any better back then, it's rather sexy!
Fun post, darling!


down and out chic said...

i really like that sepia toned photograph! unfortunately, being an ex-smoker, this just makes me want to smoke:(

natalie said...

One more reason why I love Mad Men! :)

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

They all look so chic! If I ever take up smoking it will merely be in hopes that I looked like that...

Hanako66 said...

I don't smoke either...but ciggies make the sexiest photos!

Sam said...

Oooh goody! Another beautiful Gabbi post!! Yes, these photos make smoking look like some wonderfully sophisticated activity to me even though I've always been a non-smoker. Oh the power of the image!! How susceptible we all are!The last three in particular. My first and only experience with a cigarette involved being shown how to roll one myself which I then dutifully smoked all of and then felt (literally) green in colour. I've never wanted to smoke one since funnily enough!

Have a lovely , lovely weekend sweetie and say "Bonjour" to young George for me and I trust Blas is on the mend!

Planet Mondo said...

I've never smoked either Gabbi - but some of my fave Bowie photos are where he's enjoying a gasper

Golden Years

Thin White Duke

Rolling Stone

Crystal Ball said...

I don't smoke either but I can completely understand what you mean. The photographs are so beautiful. Being an avid watcher of old films and foreign ones, the females who smoke (and even the males) look so darn pretty. haha
Oh, and thank you for being a wonderful follower of my Three-Six-Five blog, Gabby! My mom bought the passion fruit juice at a local grocery store in the Portuguese section so I would best advice you to look and see if there is a Portuguese section in your local grocery store.
Have a lovely weekend!

Crystal Ball said...

P.S. Gabbi. I meant Gabbi with an "i". haha Sorry, it's just that I have a friend whose name is also Gabbi but she spells hers with a "y". Silly me :)

Elizabeth Marie said...

Hi Gabbi!
Ohhh I so agree with you...old photos with ciggys take me back...wayyyy back haha before I was born. I'm not a smoker but they add some romance and mystery, and a little naughtiness...

Happy Weekend doll! XO

Hey Harriet said...

People just don't smoke with as much class these days! These are wonderful images. Not stinky in the slightest ;D

Have a super weekend!

ana b. said...

Yes. Isn't it funny how values change? I've never smoked in my life but don't mind photos of people smoking so much. It's what it signifies I think. The rebelliousness of it all.

Chloe Van Paris said...

Amazing post has usual
please come and join facebook

muchlove said...

Wishing you a wonderful weekend too!


Lady Thirty said...

love the pictures but I hate cigarettes... :)
it sure looked glamorous back then but today I think it looks ugly, especially when a woman smokes.
I am a big anti-smoke girl, because my grand father died in cancer caused by smoking...

have a lovely weekend sweetie, but please don´t smoke ;)

Gabbi said...

~ Thanks Anna♥ it’s good to hear I’m not the only one who thinks this way… honestly I was a little worried after posting that people would only comment on how bad smoking is for you. Also, thank you for the good weekend wishes!xo

~ Thank you dear Carlotta, truly glad I’m not the only one :) Have a great weekend.

~ Thank you Teri, and my commendations on getting the group to quit. My little brother got my mom to quit smoking when he was a little boy also, he came home one day from the first grade I think, crying, and asked that she please stop because he didn’t want her to die from cancer. Apparently they’d shown them some kind of educational thing on the dangers of smoking and it worked… got my mom to stop and he’s now 26 and doesn’t smoke either. By the way, I love the way you write… it reads like a poem!♥

~ Must find book now Chrisy!! Thank you for the heads up…♥ Wishing you a lovely weekend.

~ You just described my sister and me!! Thank you dearest Drollgirl♥. Also, you made me feel all warm and fuzzy and loved with your comment this morning… honestly honestly, thank you! *besos* and wishes for a fantastic weekend!

~ I’m so with you dear Lenore! I know the image and almost posted it here… such an elegant woman and those sunken eyes are entrancing. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! ♥

~ Well if it worked for Audrey… and countless models than maybe right? (heehe) Thank you Trudi!

~ I very much agree dear Nina!!♥

~ Thank you Miriam♥ By the way, I love your two newest posts… your job is such a dream! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.xo

~ Your grandma sounds adorable Rebecca! I’m not the biggest fan of smoking either when it comes to my loved ones especially but more for health reasons and not so much for the smell. I sort of like the smell? In fact, a guy who smokes is kind of hot to me when the smell is faint, such a contradiction huh? Wishing you a lovely weekend :)

~ I agree Maddie, it’s not the healthiest of habits and shouldn’t be glamorized. I was worried about lots of non-smoking comments this morning :) Wishing you a wonderful weekend… hope you’re feeling better!!♥

~ I’m the same way dear Fashionista! And I agree about the flappers… such a pretty state of wild rebellion. Hope you have a great weekend.xo

~ I sorta like the smell dear Bloo… makes me think of my sister and friend Thomas maybe? ♥ Thank you!

~ Thank you my dearest CC!♥♥♥ Wishing you (like always) the most fabulous weekend ever.xo

Gabbi said...

~ I’m sorry Christina… I can relate. Not the smoking thing, but when I see posts on sweets and food I get so damn hungry! :D But about the sepia, I like real early 1900’s sepias mostly because of what is in them not so much for the color tone, faux or modern sepias I don’t get? Gracias and hope you have an awesome weekend♥

~ I thought of them while I made this post Natalie! In all the shots I see they’re constantly smoking… at my work people sometimes talk about the time when people would smoke at their desks while working. It’s so strange to us now, but it was ok then… mind blowing. :)

~ But you’re already chic without it Rebecca! ♥ Hope you have wonderful weekend, I love your newest trip photos.

~ They did… thank you dear Hanako!♥xo

~ First time and without a filter! I don’t blame you for acquiring an aversion to it dear Sam… probably a blessing for health reasons of course. I will surely send your love to both of those fat little creatures. Wishing you a wonderful weekend!♥♥♥

~ Such a handsome smoking man! Isn’t it interesting how at a concert (indoor ones here at least) you can’t smoke yet the artists on stage can? Always so fascinating to me when I see them bust out a cigarette on stage. Hope you have a great weekend dear Mondo!

~ Thank you Crystal, I’m going to keep an eye out for the soda! It looks and sounds delicious… also, I love your blog! Such lovely photography and I really like your style of writing. Wishing you a lovely weekend. ♥ Ps. Don’t worry about the name! The full official version is Gabriela so the spelling of the shortened version is unofficial and open to interpretation :)

~ I so agree, thank you dear Liz♥ and Tracy♥!! Wishing you both a spectacular weekend. xoxo

~ Very much agree also dear Ana and I love the way you express yourself… such eloquence. Thank you and Happy [belated] Birthday again! ♥♥♥

~ You’re so amazing dear Chloé! Facebook scares me though, I’m afraid I’ll end up getting addicted to it… but thank you so much for your inspiring comment. It’s always awesome hearing from you. ♥ Wishing you a marvelous weekend gorgeous girl!

~ That’s horrible and I completely understand… thank you Maria!♥

Mujer imperfecta said...

Soy anti tabaco total, pero contemplando estas imágenes me entran ganas de encender un cigarrillo!!

hannah said...

it's so funny how smoking can be so elegant and gross at the same time. i don't smoke (don't want wrinkles! not to mention the worse things) but i can't help thinking it looks terrible 'cool.' especially on black and white film.

Clau! said...

I don´t smoke either but the pictures are great...

Nice weekend ;)

P R I M O E Z A said...

yes, they do make cigarettes look like the ultimate vintage accessory!

michellehendra said...

awwwww.. greatttttt phootoo.. but i'm not into smokers!


Keith said...

I smoked cigarettes in the past, but now I just smoke cigars. I do find pictures like this to be really cool. I think it's very sexy to see a beautiful woman smoking. Hope you've been having a great weekend. Cheers!

Gabbi said...

~ gracias mujer♥ si algo bonito del pasado pero major ni empesar verdad? :)

~ I agree Hannah, terribly cool looking but best not to start if can be avoided. Thank you!

~ Thank you dear Claudia! How I love your profile photo by the way.♥

~ What a perfect way of putting it dear Elizabeth! Thank you…♥

~ Completely understand, thanks Michelle! :)

~ Thank you dear Keith! Couple of these look like they belong on Sugar&Spice right? Hope you’re having a lovely weekend also!♥xo

Couture Carrie said...

Thanks for all your super sweet comments, darling G! Hope your weekend was just lovely :)


Gabbi said...

~ Thank you dearest CC! I love your posts… truly inspiring and always fun.♥

~ Good to know I’m not the only one, thank you Lilee!! :)

Nubiasnonsense said...

I smoke and everyone tells me to stop. There is a elegance about it in those years I don't think its the same now. Its more seen like a bad girl trait I suppose these day. Nice pics

Rachel Follett said...

I know what you mean. I just watched the season premiere of Mad Men and they make it look so glamorous.

Jill Pilgrim said...

I quit smoking in January and since then whenever I see these glamourous images of smoking, I get just a little craving. When I was quitting, Mad Men was totally out for me.

K @ Blog Goggles said...

Oh yeah, people definitely look cool with cigarettes. It's a shame.

Jack Daniel said...

In the 50's and 60's (just like in Mad Men) it was okay to be photographed smoking...but now...it's a huuuuge no-go. Although I have to admit pictures from the 60's and 70's of sexy ladies smoking a cig really turns me on. There's something about a lady from that era. Oh oh oh my Lord. They don't come in those packages anymore. Unfortunately.

K@terina B. said...

especially when they are women, and the pictures are old looking, this independence in the years that it was considered distasteful for women to smoke make those pictures so unique!!

Elizabeth Marie said...

Ohhh I do believe we were commenting at the same time...I kinda love when that happens!

I just swung by to say HI! And thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers for Chrystina! I really appreciate you, as always your heart just shines!!

I hope you're having a great week so far love! XO

lilylove said...

Pretty findings! I think it looks more romantic and sexy because the black and white photo effect.


Gabbi said...

~ It is a little on the bad girl side, you’re right. But for my poor sister it’s more of an addiction now. She’s tried stopping several times and she really can’t. But I don’t blame her at all, I have tons of stuff I know I shouldn’t do and I still do it. We can’t help it and everyone has something. Who am I to judge. Thank you Nubia!

~ Couldn’t agree more! Thank you dear Rachel. ♥

~ Must be so tough Jill, but good for you! ♥♥

~ They do and you’re right… why can’t there be healthy cigarettes right? :)

~ It’s all part of a lost era… I so agree. Thank you Jack!

~ Smoking is and was such an act of rebellion. Thank you Katerina! ♥

~ Thank you Liz! I hope Chrystina’s ok. Your comments and posts are always touching and honest, hope you know how much it’s appreciated. Please keep us posted on how she’s doing and have a fun safe trip tomorrow. You’re so sweet for wishing me a good week, wishing you a great one also!♥xo

~ So true :) Thank you Lily!

rhaindropz said...

Dear, MakeupSnob is having this giveaway, (to all MAC, SEPHORA and NYX lovers) click here: and take your part! http://www.themakeupsnob.com/2009/07/tms-100-followers-cosmetic.html

love lot,

Dream Sequins said...

It's all about the hair, the pose, the glamorous cigarette holder... We don't do that anymore. And now we know it's bad for us.

The Haute-Shopper said...

It definitely had an air of glamour back then. I think these days, aside from knowing it's bad for you, a lot of the trashier celebs are seen holding cigarettes and strutting around in their grungy outfits, so it's a whole different vibe to it. They try to be more rock n roll as opposed to glamorous and I'm sure some do it to portray a bad girl/boy image. I used to be a smoker (albeit a social one) and what you don't see in pictures are the yellowing teeth, the disgusting smell and the shallow coughs... I guess images tend to mask things ;-)

Clorivak said...

Ya beat me to it..heehee..I mean to say I was saving some sexay smoking photos for a post. Great minds think alike. :P I stumbled upon your blog via Lenorenevermore...and wow, its wonderful.I too ADORE old glamour smoking ladies and I suppose the odd men too. There is something so mysterious and exotic about black and white photography and smoking. I ADORE My Bloody Valentine...I need to listen to them..I was so addicted to both their album at certain points of my life...sooo good.
Handsome Cat by the way.


Most Popular Post

Header photo of surfers can be found *HERE*

   Thank you for visiting! Remember to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you! ♥

Back to TOP