BAD BABIES #1: SMOKING KIDS

Children tend to be portrayed as adorable little darlings in works of art (even if they possess faces only a mother could love*). This mini series of short blog posts is dedicated to showcasing those artists whose young subjects are less sugar, spice and all things nice and more slugs, snails and puppy-dog’s tails.

Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids, 2011

Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids, 2011

After watching this video (a) of a chain-smoking Indonesian baby (now most probably a chain-smoking toddler) Belgian photographer Frieke Janssens was inspired to create this series Smoking Kids.

Children smoking seems, for most of us, a shocking spoiling of innocence. The film, shot as a factual portrait, highlights an Eastern departure from the West where smoking is a risky hobby taken up only by adults.

The photographs mimic grown-up smoking stereotypes: the bored housewife (b), the sergeant major (c), and the celebrity diva (d). Janssens’ miniature muses are casual and glamourous little criminals, reminiscent of a child breaking in to mum’s wardrobe to stumble out in too-big stilettos.

Janssens also looked to the aesthetics of those alluring plumes of white smoke from album covers (e) and movies (f), and the celebrities (g) who have been encouraging us to light up for years. Young smokers aren’t put off by ‘bad guys’ who smoke, in fact an aloof persona makes smoking all the more appealing.

Ultimately, Janssens’ cutesy project reminds us that our vices are transferrable to the impressionable, next generation.

(a) Chain-Smoking Baby in Indonesia

(a) Chain-Smoking Baby in Indonesia

(b)Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids: Ringlings, 2011

(b) Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids: Ringlings, 2011

(c)Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids:The Gasper, 2011

(c) Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids:The Gasper, 2011

Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids:Classic Red, 2011

(d) Frieke Janssens, Smoking Kids:Classic Red, 2011

e) Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2006

e) Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, 2006

(f) Marlene Dietrich in The Angel, 1937

(f) Marlene Dietrich in The Angel, 1937

(g) Kate Moss, Louis Vuitton, 2011

(g) Kate Moss, Louis Vuitton, 2011

(g) Kate Moss, Louis Vuitton, 2011

(g) Kate Moss, Louis Vuitton, 2011

 

- by guest-blogger, Kat Hawker

 

*http://uglyrenaissancebabies.tumblr.com/

Frieke Janssens photographs via: http://frieke.com/

NB. Janssens’ gallery Edelman Gallery, Chicago assures that no little lungs were damaged in the making of this series. Chalk and cheese sticks were used as props for the cigarettes, and candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke; the final photographs were digitally manipulated with imagery of grown-ups smoking. 

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