Let's praise simplicity. Your best works are just like this one: technically outstanding & on the visual layer almost a casual snapshot, with still 'something more' underneath. I presume your pictorial sense (if I can say so) is already very film-like, though it might be floating in your veins rather than be something you're aware of in a sensible manner. (Some call it 'a gift' and they're correct.) This image opens the viewers' mind to whole lotta stories: just think of, it says, what's happening off-screen, who's the girl observing or talking to, where she is, etc. And as such it's pretty natural, no arrangement or manipulation is visible (even though it might have been used, its traces seem withdrawn and the eye looking through the camera viewfinder gets united with the viewer's eye). I've been coming back to take a look at this picture for a couple of days now and just wanted to see if anything gets changed in my perception. Fortunately, nothing like that has happened.
The cigarette doesn't interfere with the overall effect, it's not like some goth / horror / macabre prop. It doesn't come from any world that may be different than the one we all belong to. It _just_ is. It can be significant on a symbolical layer, though, if we speak of a single picture which lives in its own, 'single' way: the young girl, full summer, full of life, and it just reminds of something opposite it brings together with joy. In a movie such a detail would vanish among other pictures and would be just a prop. Here it can recall a diversity of meanings.
thank you so much, it means so much to hear not only that you like it, but that my picture is worth looking at multiple times I truly appreciate your comment and the time you've spent to analyze it imagery (both stills [photography] and sequences [cinematography]) are my passion, and I fully intend to pursue it as a career, there's just something about how much can be communicated in the details of what the viewer sees, how something as simple as a slight change to the color balance and completely change the tone of the mood and what the image is conveying