A few years back, the YouTube video of an Indonesian baby who smoked 40 cigarettes a day went viral and caught the attention of Frieke Janssens. She was intrigued and started to think about the cultural differences between the East and West, specifically how smoking is viewed around the world.
The result, “Smoking Kids,” is a styled view of what children—or almost miniature adults—would look like if they were smoking. The series will be exhibited at VII Gallery in Brooklyn, opening Thursday and running through Feb. 8. Some of the kids look like shrunken versions of Marlene Dietrich; others could be extras in The Great Gatsby or even Mad Men.
For the Belgian Janssens, the series is simply another way of looking at the idea of smoking around the world.