Frieke Janssens is a Bransch artist, most well known for her controversial photography, which heavily features naked men and women. She is also an extremely talented photograph editor, using photography manipulation to creates fantasy scenes such as a woodman reading a book to animals, and a man at his office desk floating in the sea.
Her most recent exhibition, which was on view through the summer in Antwerp, Belgium, was called “Smoking Kids”. Recently a law was passed to ban smoking in Belgian bars, which caused a huge uproar from the public about how freedom was being oppressed, and adults were being treated like children. This is the main reason behind the photographic series, as Janssen wants to turn the attention of the viewer upon the issue of smoking itself. Seeing children smoke has a huge impact on pretty much anyone who comes across it. Take for example the Indonesian toddler who was smoking 40 cigarettes a day, which became world wide news.
Society does not bat an eyelid at adult smokers, but Janssen felt that the reality of seeing children smoke would have a surreal impact and compel the viewer to truly see the acts of smoking. Of course, there were the usual rumours going around that these were in fact real, lit cigarettes and the children were inhaling them, but clearly they were not (if you need further evidence, please refer to the short film, where you will see that no children are inhaling smoke!).
Janssen is a photoshop wizard – or something to that affect – using such clever techniques that it make us question the reality of the images. One interesting thing to note about this extraordinary photography set, is the time period of the clothing. With so many countries banning it, smoking has now become a “retro” thing, especially when you think about a time when you were allowed to light up in bars and on planes. Janssen brings us a version of photographs that really bring to light the unattractiveness of smoking, showing us the line between beauty and the ugliness.