Clouds of smoke appear to take on strange and beautiful shapes in French photographer Gilles Soudry’s images. He calls them “Volutes”, referring to the smoke’s hazy and spiraling effects, and some have described looking at his work like being transported into a dark otherworld, while others appreciate its cinematic qualities (we saw Donnie Darko’s rabbit “Frank”). Like a sort of x-ray colored Rorschach Test, these reactions to Soudry’s photographs demonstrate his unique ability to mystify his viewers. Originally trained as a photoengraver specializing in chroma, this practice eventually led him to discover the exciting possibilities of design as it occurs naturally. At his website, Soudry expresses a desire to capture the effects produced by textures, surfaces and transparencies. Smoke in particular can take on a surprising variety of shapes, volume and density, but as is the nature of clouds, it is always fleeting. Soudry’s haunting photographs can slow down time and offer us a chance to appreciate the beauty of these otherwise harmful fumes.