Now, please do not view this as en endorsement of either tobacco products or child proximity to thereof, but I´m having trouble looking away from these photographs of smoking kids by Frieke Janssens! Theatrically costumed and staged, children aged four to nine puff and pose with all the “glamour” of their stereotypes: The tiny disheveled housewife blowing rings of smoke, the tough boy big shot dragging on a fat cigar stump, the shameless little gal donning olde cinema drag with a vintage cigarette holder… Yes, it’s a bit disturbing, but compelling nonetheless.
There is definitely a bit of sense of humor in the Smoking Kids series of photograhps by Frieke Janssens. With the tobacco industry’s push toward attracting children to consume their products, Janssens has theatrically staged and costumed his kids to act the part of “sophisticated” adults enjoying a good smoke.
The series is actually titled The Beauty of an Ugly Addiction. A writer for I Love Belgium with knowledge of Janssens work writes, “The children, aged four to nine, are shameless posing while enjoying their cigarette or cigarillo. So why kids? By portraying adults as children all the attention went to the smoking. An adult would draw to much attention to the portrayed person. Thus these portraits evoke question such as: is the smoking ban the right way to get rid of an absurd addiction and are smokers treated like little kids who can’t make the difference between good and bad?”