Smoke Gets in your Eyes

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“Whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself …” – James Taylor

I see faces everywhere – mostly on people out living their lives, playing, laughing, loving. They give me something to see, and when I see something, I photograph it. Faces make my job a lot easier.

And then there are times when there are no people around. No quirky smiles, no disarming looks, no human interaction.

But I still see faces: the smiling grin viewed in the grill of a car, its recessed headlights resembling eyes laughing at me as it zooms closer in the rearview mirror.

On the buttered side of a piece of toast, maybe it’s Elvis glaring up at me.

When light hits something – anything – in just the right way, it can lend enough depth to make the inanimate appear animate. Imagination plays a big part, of course, as in that face in the creases of tree bark that resemble a smiling man. I’m probably not the only one who sees it.

Walking behind the Biltmore Hotel one day recently, I happened to spot a group of smokers heading back inside to work. I caught sight of the smoke box – a receptacle for cigarettes mounted on the building’s back wall. Wispy streams of blue smoke emanated from the vent holes as the contents still smoldered from the recently stamped-out butts.

I looked first for the interesting smoke patterns, but then noticed the real prize: metallic features looking back at me. A devilish smile formed on both our faces. I had my picture.

Copyright 2014 Kris Craig / Providence Journal

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