This series of provoking photographs aims to draw to attention the issue at hand: smoking. Belgian photographer Frieke Janssens calls into question the health risks that come with smoking, as well as cultural views on the habit, through having kids pose as models in glamor ads of the Jazz era.
As the disclaimer on the project page of photographer Frieke Janssens states “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.”
The Belgan photographer created this series of provoking, albeit beautifully composed, images after viewing a video, streamed on the internet, of a chain-smoking Indonesian toddler (clips of which you can view at the end of the below video on the ‘making of’).
Janssens wants to “isolate…the issue of smoking itself” by using children, instead of the adults who the activity of smoking is almost always associated with, in order to bring the focus back to the act of smoking rather than on the individual behind the cigarette or cigar as with the children, there is much less room for passing judgement and assigning our preconceived notions.
And the images were, intentionally, composed beautifully, each of the poses meant to evoke glamor and the days past, when smoking was a staple in restaurants, when it billowed out the entrance door to any eatery upon entering. They were composed in this manner, in order to make the “less attractive” aspect of the habit apparent, through the working of children into the mix.
The juxtaposition of children and smoke elevates the importance of the issue in our minds, through the vice or virtue of the set of soft, wonderfully constructed, images. Often times controversy or new approaches that veer off from the norm, attract attention to issues that were just as important as when they first arose to attention though, over time, have waned and been overlooked.
For more work by Janssens check out her page on Bransch