December 2013. I was on a photography trip to Bikaner, in the deserts of Rajasthan, India. Near the busy train station, I saw a man I wanted to photograph. I hesitated. The look in his eye and his stony, stern look intimidated me. It's always that moment of hesitation that kills a shot! I ended up avoiding him and photographing other subjects until I heard his jovial voice, "Take my picture too!".

Camera lens focused, my finger poised to fire. 'Smile', I called out. And he was transformed. His face radiated warmth, his eyes sparkled with a humor I had completely missed. Even his posture softened. I knew then what my next project would be. So I asked them to smile was born. I wanted to document the effect of the human smile on a strangers face.

In the days, months and years that followed, I asked random people on my photography adventures (mostly on the streets of India) to pose unsmiling and with a smile. These images are the heart of my project. Its goal is to recreate the mindset from which we view a stranger, and then witness as our assumptions transform with their smile.

So there are no names. No occupations. No confirmed religions or ethnicity. No intriguing life lessons or heart strumming anecdotes. Just one human face. Without, and with a smile.

More info: Facebook | Instagram

#1

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

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sunnyrei82
Community Member
3 years ago

beautiful eyes!

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#2

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Teresa W-S
Community Member
3 years ago

adorable!!!!!!!

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#3

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

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Lisa Casavant
Community Member
3 years ago

Proof that a smile brightens the world!

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#4

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Stacey Weaver
Community Member
3 years ago

He wears his smile in his eyes, even in the first picture... that's a joy filled man.

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#5

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

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Yvonne Bernal
Community Member
3 years ago

Those eyes remind me of the old Margaret Keane paintings! WOW!

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#6

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Wendy
Community Member
3 years ago

What a lovely smile - especially in his eyes - beautiful ♥

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#7

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Orsi Tamás
Community Member
3 years ago

Awwww :)

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#8

Juhu, Mumbai, India

Juhu, Mumbai, India

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sky blue
Community Member
3 years ago

Humans are beautiful

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#9

Hampi, Karnataka, India

Hampi, Karnataka, India

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Luis Milian
Community Member
3 years ago

she shines when she smiles.

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#10

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east India

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east India

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Kim Kelly
Community Member
3 years ago

He already looks friendly :)

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#11

Bandra, Mumbai, India

Bandra, Mumbai, India

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Kimberly Gorman
Community Member
3 years ago

Beautiful lips

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#12

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

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Lalita Pai
Community Member
3 years ago

That metal thing is two containers full of water for which she has probably walked half a day !

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#13

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Martin_D35
Community Member
3 years ago

I bet his hair looks that perfect when he wakes up.

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#14

Near Almora, Uttarakhand, India

Near Almora, Uttarakhand, India

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Leen Pol
Community Member
3 years ago

He seems like a nice person

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#15

Bagru Village, Rajasthan, India

Bagru Village, Rajasthan, India

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Leen Pol
Community Member
3 years ago

What a jaw line!

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#16

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

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KennyC
Community Member
3 years ago

Cute!!

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#17

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

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Eleanor Orser
Community Member
3 years ago

Nice looking young man!

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#18

Khonoma, Nagaland, North-east India

Khonoma, Nagaland, North-east India

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Ingrid Aquino
Community Member
3 years ago

ohhh que gracinha <3

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#19

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

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Rocío Acosta
Community Member
3 years ago

This one is my favorite. He looks so sad in the first picture that I was glad to see him smiling in the second.

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#20

Pune, Maharashtra, India

Pune, Maharashtra, India

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KatieH
Community Member
3 years ago

My favourite....I bet he's always joking about!

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#21

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east, India

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east, India

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Leen Pol
Community Member
3 years ago

His eyes changed

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#22

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

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Michele Creter
Community Member
3 years ago

He rocks that uni-Brow! I mean that sincerely!!

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#23

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Wendy
Community Member
3 years ago

Beautiful

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#24

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Rebekka Rasmussen
Community Member
3 years ago

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That woman smokes, or drinks coffee :D

#25

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

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Daria B
Community Member
3 years ago

Punkrocker kid.

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#26

Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, India

Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Clo
Community Member
3 years ago

Just chillin and keep smiling

#27

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Wendy
Community Member
3 years ago

I love the subtly of this one

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#28

Outside St Xavier's College, Mumbai, India

Outside St Xavier's College, Mumbai, India

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Sara Jensen
Community Member
3 years ago

Even when he is smiling he looks a little sad to me. I wonder what his story is.

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#29

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Pam Sharrad
Community Member
3 years ago

Very handsome face

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#30

Pune, Maharasthra, India

Pune, Maharasthra, India

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Heidi Freeman
Community Member
3 years ago

He looks so dreamy in the top one

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#31

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

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Wendy
Community Member
3 years ago

Lovely smile in her eyes

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#32

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

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Wendy
Community Member
3 years ago

Very playful ☺

#33

Kohima, Nagaland, North-east India

Kohima, Nagaland, North-east India

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Linelle
Community Member
3 years ago

This is beautiful!

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#34

Latikynsew Village, Meghalaya, North East India

Latikynsew Village, Meghalaya, North East India

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gg61
Community Member
3 years ago

I liked all of the subjects photoed, all the smiles made me smile in return