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 photo series would be. So 'I asked them to smile' was born. I wanted to document the effect of the human smile on a stranger's face.

In the days, months, and years that followed, I asked random people on my travel photography adventures (mostly on the streets of India) to pose unsmiling and with a smile. These beautiful photos 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. Before and after. Without, and with a smile.

More info: Facebook | Instagram

#1

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#2

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#3

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#4

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Stacey Weaver
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Yvonne Bernal
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Wendy
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View more comments
#7

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#8

Juhu, Mumbai, India

Juhu, Mumbai, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#9

Hampi, Karnataka, India

Hampi, Karnataka, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#10

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east India

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east India

Jay Weinstein Report

#12

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Lalita Pai
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View more comments
#13

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Martin_D35
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View more comments
#14

Near Almora, Uttarakhand, India

Near Almora, Uttarakhand, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#15

Bagru Village, Rajasthan, India

Bagru Village, Rajasthan, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#16

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#17

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Juhu Beach, Mumbai, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#18

Khonoma, Nagaland, North-east India

Khonoma, Nagaland, North-east India

Jay Weinstein Report

#19

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

Danda Village Jetty, Mumbai, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Rocío Acosta
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#20

Pune, Maharashtra, India

Pune, Maharashtra, India

Jay Weinstein Report

KatieH
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#21

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east, India

Kisama, Nagaland, North-east, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#22

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Michele Creter
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View more comments
#24

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Rebekka Rasmussen
Community Member
6 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

That woman smokes, or drinks coffee :D

#25

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

Tyrna Village, Meghalaya, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#26

Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, India

Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Clo
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Just chillin and keep smiling

#27

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#28

Outside St Xavier's College, Mumbai, India

Outside St Xavier's College, Mumbai, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Sara Jensen
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View More Replies...
View more comments
#29

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#30

Pune, Maharasthra, India

Pune, Maharasthra, India

Jay Weinstein Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#31

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

Jagannath Puri, Odisha, India

Jay Weinstein Report

Wendy
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Lovely smile in her eyes

#32

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Kakhsar Village, Gujarat, India

Jay Weinstein Report

#33

Kohima, Nagaland, North-east India

Kohima, Nagaland, North-east India

Jay Weinstein Report

#34

Latikynsew Village, Meghalaya, North East India

Latikynsew Village, Meghalaya, North East India

Jay Weinstein Report

gg61
Community Member
6 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

View more comments