Victoria Shabad

2018 - Ongoing

Moscow, Russia


These photographs were shot as an investigation of the meaning of smoking in one's life. I wanted to hear their story, let them tell me what it means for them to be a "smoker". These shots are a capturing of the feeling a cigarette gives, whether it is pleasure, help, or even struggle. Each person had their own meaning in smoking, and their words is what powers these photographs, gives them personality and life.

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  • "Jenya"

    «…In Russia, we have a song… there is a line: ‘last cigarette leaves smoke, and I am left with only nicotine’. Well, I guess, you could say that when I am smoking a cigarette and I am blowing out smoke, I am in a way burning my problems. I don’t mean, like, serious ones, but everyday difficulties, little issues, so by smoking a cig I am distancing myself from them, and then I either understand that it’s all not important, or I find a solution…»

  • "Vika"

    «…Today, smoking for me, I guess, is an addiction, as I can’t quit, and when I am in big groups of people I really like to smoke, as I love the atmosphere and the conversations while everyone smokes, but I barely smoke when I am on my own…»

  • "Nor"

    «…I chain smoke for a very long time. Smoking… I can’t say I feel a true addiction to smoking, for me it is more a need to kill some time, but I will lie if I say I am not addicted at all. I have an addiction, but it is not that strong yet. For now I can say that it is a very big part of my life, and I can’t imagine myself NOT smoking, you know? It is so embeded into my everyday life…»

  • "Ilya"

    «…I don’t think smoking is an addiction, every man invents himself excuses as to why he smokes. Most people, me included, use cigarettes as a replacement for antidepressants, so when something stressful happens to you, and you want to get way from it and clear your head, you smoke cigs to calm down. That… Well, I don’t see it as an addiction, as every person pours different reasoning into it. Some people start smoking because they see everyone do it, others.. well, everyone has their own reasons, and I believe that a person, which puts a certain goal in front of them when they start smoking, say, I smoke for ‘this’ particular reason - this will be his reason until the end. I, personally, smoke just because I’m used to it, but for me it was never a problem to quit, so I am planning to quit again soon…»

  • "Phil"

    «…For me smoking isn’t only about getting my nicotine fill, it is about going outside and enjoying the fresh air. Ironic, isn’t it? Maybe even enjoy the views. It became a habit, smoking while looking at something beautiful. I enjoy the taste, and the aesthetic I get from smoking…»

  • "Egor"

    «…I believe that I have several reasons for smoking… First, I don’t see it as a habit for myself, i feel like it’s hard for me to get so used to something that is then causing me issues to quit. It is there, but I don’t see it as a problem. Second, it’s a part of appearence and style, smoking and cigs play a part of a literary detail, and I believe that is the case for many people, and it adds a bit of individuality to them, or so they think. Almost like a specific type of cufflinks, or a fancy tie. Third reason is socialisation, and the desperate need to be accepted…»

  • "Sonya"

    «…Well, I am clearly physically addicted to smoking, however, I like smoking for it’s aesthetics, you take a beautiful cig out of the pack, so perfect and symmetric to the others, put it in your mouth, light it and oh my god, it is so beautiful…»