Smokers vs. Non-Smokers Age Photos

1-100 age photos

Goth Party

Meaghan's New Year's Eve #2 had a Goth theme. I wore black. I also bought eyeliner, and spent a good 30 minutes in front of a mirror trying to transform a raccoon into a vampire. I couldn't help but notice that the skin around my eyes has become thin and wrinkled. Wow. I'm old! I realized that women people that wear makeup spend a lot more time scrutinizing their skin than those of us who don't. This realization rekindled my interest in documenting the changes in skin over time, and I was determined to start my Photographic Age Project again. Rob with eye makeup

Second Try

My first attempt at this chart, based on user-submitted photos, didn't make much of an impression, likely because the user-submitted photos weren't high-resolution, and they didn't reveal the textural evolution of aging skin. In this new iteration, I've opted to take the pictures myself, although I might have to open up submissions if my current drought of willing seniors continues.

I asked people on the street to help with a photo project, illustrating the difference between the complexion of smokers and non-smokers. My expectation was that the skin, the face, of a 35 year-old smoker might resemble the skin of a 42 year-old non-smoker.

No Smoking Gun

After a few photo shoots, my hypothesis was floudering. The smokers' skin didn't look that bad. It was also unclear if wrinkles were caused by genetics, sun exposure or smoking. I'm a vicious opponent of smoking cigarettes, but I couldn't see the detriments I expected.

My pitch

It turns out, I enjoy talking to people on public streets, as long as I'm not asking them to buy something. Tourists are people with a moment to spare, unless they are rushing to meet their friends for dinner. Here's my pitch:

"Can I take your picture?"

They reply "No thank you."

Occasionally they say "What's it for?"

"I'm trying to collect pictures of someone at every age, from one to one hundred." If they look interested, but pause, I say "How old are you?"

Then I say, "Are you in?" They usually say yes!

I ask their name, their age and if they have a history of smoking cigarettes. I take note if they are wearing sunglasses and ask if they wear sunscreen. Then I take two pictures, one face and one a closeup of their eye.

Couples are the best, because if they both stop, I get two photos at once. A group of more than four will never stop, because the group has too much inertia.

One of my favorite replies was from a couple of women who were concerned that if they were identified as tobacco users, they might have trouble getting health insurance in the future.

I'll keep looking! Until then, I'll try to uncover some truths about sunscreen, sunglasses, race and tourists on the streets of Sacramento!


Rob taking pics in Old Sac

Running into fans Matt and Brooke in Old Sac.

1-100 Age Chart