Smoking kids

Smoking Kids

First of all, I would like to make it clear that it’s not our intention to motivate the act of smoking, specially for kids. We don’t support it in any way.
This series caught my attention in a very disturbing way, the images are very powerful, controversial and have a huge impact when you look at it. These are photo manipulations, a personal project created by Belgian photographer Frieke Janssens (no, she’s not a freak) to bring awareness to a viral epidemic of children smoking. To assure you of the safety of the children, there were no real cigarettes on set. Instead, chalk and sticks of cheese were the prop stand ins, while candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke.

” Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer’s focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act. Coincidentally around the time of the “Smoking Kids” gallery opening, a law was passed, and smoking has been banned from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of “Mad Men,” when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of “Smoking Kids,” – Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal – there is a nod to less attractive aspects, on the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking.”

What do you guys think?



“People always come up to me and say that my smoke is bothering them… well, it’s killing me!” Wendy Liebman

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20 comments

  1. thesweetkitten

    I am Belgian, but I don’t know this photographer. There is still an outcry in our country, and a lot of pubs and restaurants have gone bankrupt because of this law.

  2. Extremely powerful and I’m always one to enjoy a good controversy.

    But even that aside, I like the vintage style and the extremely realistic and credible poses – my fav would be the 6th from the bottom primarily for her facial expression, but they are all great in their own right.

    Btw Germany passed the same non-smoking law about three years ago and there was a huge public outcry and the threat of bankrupcy etc. by restaurant, pub owners – reality is – it had little to no (financial) impact in the long run.

    After the adjustment phase it has now become normality in Germany (some states enforce it stronger than others though) and it’s kind of like smoking on planes – You remember what it was like when you think about it, but usually you don’t even think about it.

    • That’s what happens in Brazil too…it’s been aproximately 2 years of this non smoking law and people are kinda getting used to it, but as you said, some places enforce stronger than others!

  3. Wow! These are disturbing and extremely haunting and, yet, I love that it provokes me emotionally. Such a truthful and profound statement to the act of smoking. Love this post!

  4. I think it takes the things we hold dear – precious even – our children, and then takes something we disdain – possibly even abhor – smoking and bring the two together. It makes an interesting impact on the viewer. Although, I thought it worth mentioning that there was a youtube video of a child smoking in some asian country, and it had much the same effect as these photos. Powerful stuff.
    Afterthought – the children are posed in adult-like expression which also adds an effect in and of itself.

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