Frieke Janssens - Smoking Kids

Time started: 18.43
Listening: Smoke Smoke Smoke - Tex Williams - Caro Emerald Presents - Drum Rolls & Heartbreaks (serieus toevallig!)


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On Froot.nl I read about the photo series 'Smoking Kids' that Frieke Janssens made. On her website frieke.com writes the following about this series: "A YouTube video of a chainsmoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, "Smoking Kids". The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity. Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer's focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act. Coincidentally around the time of the "Smoking Kids" gallery opening, a law was passed, and smoking has been banned from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of "Mad Men," when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of "Smoking Kids," - Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal - there is a nod to less attractive aspects, on the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking. To assure you of the safety of the children, 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."


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The photos can be purchased as a book with detachable cards for €19,95. This way you can use them as postcards or hang them on your wall. In the video below you can watch a short making of of Smoking Kids. At the end of it there is also an excerpt of the youtube video that inspired Frieke Janssens to make the photo's. 




The website of Frieke Janssens is worth a look anyway but a second project I found really interesting is   Your Last Shot. She says the following about that: “In reality, those left behind need to find a photo quickly that is ‘ok’ and usually it requires some Photoshop retouching. And the question remains: how would the deceased feel about this photo? Maybe he or she would have untagged themselves from it?” The series of ‘Your Last Shot’ will reflect a combination of the portrayed’s wishes and the photographer’s style. “My personal preference goes to static portraits as they were taken at the occasion of weddings at the beginning of the 20th century. My aim is to make an iconic portrait that is beautiful, serene and fearless, preferably with a gentle smile, indicating that the model is clearly aware of the fact that this portrait will be used for a very long time to come.” Sinister? “Not really, life and death are inevitably linked. In Belgium there still seems to be a taboo around the thought of death. As a photographer, I feel that the moment when one reflects about their own death is a precious moment to be shared and portrayed.” The portrayed will receive their ‘last portrait’ printed on porcelain, so that it actually can be used when the time has come. Which is hopefully many years from now. “In each series, I try to make people reflect on a specific subject. Should we not care more about that one photo that will be used infinitely? Would you not prefer to choose that photo yourself? By the way, it strikes me that, when people visit someone's grave, they like to take a walk through the entire cemetery. And what do they do? Indeed, looking at the pictures.” To find out more about this project or to get your own "Last shot" go to yourlastshot.be.


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Time ended: 22.41
Watching: Suits

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