After seeing a video on YouTube of an Indonesian toddler who smokes 40 cigarettes a day, Belgian photographer Frieke Janssens decided to respond to a general smoking ban introduced in her country recently with a series of photos showing children smoking. I Love Belgium 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? While Frieke doesn’t give answers, the portraits are strong enough to start your thinking process!
Although photographs have become quite controversial, it may comfort you to know that none of the children were exposed to actual cigarette smoke through the photo shoots — the cigarettes were actually made of cheese!
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video showing the creation of the images:
Thanks for sending in the tip, Nathan!