Portraits: José Blanco


While at the brand new Blue Smoke in Dallas, José Blanco of La Aurora graciously allowed me some time to photograph him. He has been photographed before, of course, but I am thinking this portrait was a bit different.

This was the first time I had met him, and I was extremely impressed not only by his knowledge of cigars, but also by the fact that he speaks his mind, which is a rare quality in the world of cigars these days.


I wanted to get a photograph of Blanco that showed a quiet dignity, and decided to use a simplistic background to achieve it.

José Blanco.png

There are three main light sources in the photograph: The lamp, a video light from the left that was lighting his face and casting the shadow on the wall and a video light on the right that was highlighting the smoke from his cigar.

Notice how the smoke is highlighted, but the cigar and hand are in shadow, as I wanted.

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About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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