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The Beauty of an Ugly Addiction
November 23, 2011 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Belgian photographer Frieke Janssens snapped controversial (and artistic) portraits of children between the ages of four and nine smoking fake cigarettes. The photo shoot in action was recorded and her portfolio can be seen here. (Previously)

I received this message when checking to see if this was a double: "We're sorry, search is currently down for maintenance. We'll have it back on again as soon as we can." Hopefully it's not!
posted by gman (27 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
No Lighter!
posted by mannequito at 2:26 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


when training new photographers at the mall portrait studio, there was always of section about what couldn't be photographed - no bare butts over 1 year old, no diaper shots over 2, no scandalous bikinis, no topless moms (even for nursing pictures). there was also this rule about "no age inappropriate content" which was basically there to keep us from photographing kids with cigarettes and beer bottles. in training, everyone always laughed, like, oh, what parent would want a picture of their kid holding a cigarette??

the answer is a lot. 15 or so times a year i'd have to explain to the parents why, while they might think it's cute, we can't shoot the "hillbilly" or "beach" picture in that way.
posted by nadawi at 2:31 PM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Have to admit those kids look pretty cool.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:32 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Weird concept, but very nice photos from a technical standpoint.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:33 PM on November 23, 2011


My girlfriend and I were talking a walk one night when we passed by an apartment building. There was a teenage party going on, and a bunch of the kids were out on balcony. I couldn't figure out what was so weird about it -- they were loud, music was blasting, started party stuff -- until I realized that none of them were smoking (unlike my girlfriend and I and many of our friends would be during an unsupervised party in our teens.) According to my her, we were the last real generation to get caught up with the "smoking is cool" idea. The kids after us got considerably less advertised-at, and considerably more gruesomly warned.

Anyway, fuck controversy, these photos are adorable.
posted by griphus at 2:35 PM on November 23, 2011


...started standard party stuff...
posted by griphus at 2:36 PM on November 23, 2011


I don't see the point and don't expect to be able to take any explanation seriously.
posted by Anything at 2:38 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


nadawi: "no bare butts over 1 year old"

No one ever pointed out that this is insane?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:39 PM on November 23, 2011


Thanks for this! The photos are so beautiful, and the kids seem like naturals. It also reminds me of those old photographs (turn of the centuryish) when it seemed to be hilarious to dress kids up like adults and show the boys pretending to smoke. Or maybe smoking.

I loved the video too, although I remember that actual smoking baby that appears in the end and it breaks my heart.
posted by sweetkid at 2:40 PM on November 23, 2011


naked baby pictures are incredibly common (if you GIS "newborn pictures" a good half of them are naked). we got a lot of flack for putting the cut off age so low.
posted by nadawi at 2:43 PM on November 23, 2011


P.S. the cigarettes used in the photo shoot were made out of cheese.

If I knew cheese cigarettes existed, I'm sure I would have made the switch long ago.
posted by snofoam at 2:52 PM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: I don't see the point and don't expect to be able to take any explanation seriously.
posted by cmoj at 2:55 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


More importantly, those children are all exquisitely dressed and now I am jealous.
posted by pmv at 2:58 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


At Mardi Gras in New Orleans, they often throw these fake cigarettes that make a puff of "smoke" when you blow through them. It always makes me do a double-take to see some kid with them, and I never fail to stop and take their picture. Cigarettes make kids look tough.
posted by ColdChef at 3:03 PM on November 23, 2011


While not quite as artistic, and definitely not "fake", I've taken a few shots of my own while on the road. Here's one in Cambodia and another in Pakistan.
posted by gman at 3:11 PM on November 23, 2011


Sweet cigarettes used to be a common sweet for kids in England.
posted by joannemullen at 4:15 PM on November 23, 2011


This seems like the perfect thread to leave this.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:19 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sweet cigarettes used to be a common sweet for kids in England.

We had them in Brooklyn well into the 90s.
posted by griphus at 4:24 PM on November 23, 2011


Yeah, we had bubble gum or candy cigs in LA well into the early 90s as well. They were all fairly awful as candy or gum, but I recall the bubble gum ones at few of my local candy shops were insanely cheap, and thus a good deal if you liked bubblegum.

They were cylindrical bubble gum sticks wrapped in paper and fine cornstarch. You could puff through the paper and a bit of cornstarch would come out simulating smoke. It was all rather ridiculous and stupid.
posted by loquacious at 4:50 PM on November 23, 2011


It's like Anne Geddes. But with cigarettes. So a sort of hipster Anne Geddes, which is a disturbing thought.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:55 PM on November 23, 2011


It's like Anne Geddes. But with cigarettes. So a sort of hipster Anne Geddes, which is a disturbing thought.

Less Anne Geddes than Jill Greenberg crossed with Loretta Lux.

(The "highly stylized child portrait series" is very much A Thing.)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:12 PM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Yeah, we had bubble gum or candy cigs in LA well into the early 90s as well.

You still have them, you just don't see them. I picked up a pack of bubble gum cigs in LA in 2006 or so.
posted by user92371 at 6:19 PM on November 23, 2011


I gave out small packs of Popeye cigarettes this year for Hallowe'en to annoy all the neighbours. They're called Popeye candy sticks now, and are no longer "lit," but my kid was hip enough to know she was supposed to fake-smoke them. They were in a three pack and looked way more like joints than smokes.

Also, where may I find the cheese cigarettes, please?
posted by looli at 8:17 PM on November 23, 2011


Sweet cigarettes used to be a common sweet for kids in England.

The ones I remember from the 60s didn't look very realistic though (a little white candy stick with red on one end). On the other hand there were also really realistic chocolate cigarettes -- exactly the right size with rice paper on the outside (making the whole thing edible).
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 11:59 PM on November 23, 2011


I hereby declare "To the End" kid winner of the Internets.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:08 AM on November 24, 2011


Sally Mann photographed her children for years as part of her series Immediate Family and one of the better known images was of her daughter smoking a candy cigarette. Hadn't thought of Sally Mann for years.
posted by kaybdc at 9:20 AM on November 24, 2011


There's also Joseph Szabo's work from the 1970s, including Priscilla, which Dinosaur Jr fans might recognize as the cover of Green Mind.

Not to mention the many such shots by Lewis Hine.

And then there's Larry Clark...
posted by Sys Rq at 5:42 PM on November 24, 2011


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