A superhuman being? A ghostly light? Something from the depths of our vast oceans?! This is cigarette smoke at 1/10,000 frames per second.


Thomas Herbrich, a German photographer, set up a black background, a tripod and a very high-speed flash. A cigarette was attached to a tripod and Herbrich shot frame after frame at 1/10,000 of a second which made it possible to capture the swirls and serpentine curls of the smoke.

Although this may seem like a relatively easy task, Thomas explains that ‘The rising of smoke is actually so quick that conventional flash equipment is too slow, as is the photographer’. 100,000 images, 600 cigarettes, 3 months worth of work and shit tonne of effort later, Thomas selected 20 of the best images from the lot. These 20 images were used for his Smoke exhibition at an art fair in Cologne.



‘In my pictures, it’s spectacular, entertaining and always a bit mysterious. They are made with love, and I think it shows. For me a good picture as the first sentence in a story, and the viewer she wants to continue spinning. So there are always “narrative” pictures.’

View the ‘Smoke’ Collection on Thomas’ site, here.