The dazzling transformation an authentic smile brings to someone’s face has been captured in a stunning series of photographs. Smiling is universally considered to be a way we display joy. It can communicate our internal world to people on the outside. And it can be a welcoming sign to new people.
‘So I Asked Them To Smile’ is a minimalist photography project exploring the smiles of strangers around the world by Australian-born Jay Weinstein. Having spent most of his life in India, Jay knows the country pretty well. He also organizes small-group tours where people can explore its unique culture. Most of the photos in the series were shot in India. But the photographer also visited countries like China, Singapore, Kenya, and Nepal.
His pictures also show that a smile is unique to every individual. The moment people smiled, Weinstein was struck by the effect it had on their faces, instantly making the once intimidating person appear warm and friendly.
See some of Jay’s beautiful portraits in the gallery below!
He was walking in a park near the Long Museum, as the sunset over the mighty Yangtze River, near the West Bund in Shanghai, China…so I asked him to smile.
He was at the little roadside shop with school friends one afternoon, as I photographed people though the clouds of dust and heavy winds in the crossroad market of Kiritiri, Eastern Province, Kenya…so I asked him to smile.
He was playing with his family one morning, as the warm sun rose in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India…so i asked him to smile.
He was walking toward me one evening, as I explored the outer edge of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India…so i asked him to smile.
He was offering his respects to hundreds of other locals, as the vibrant Jagannath Ratha Yatra procession passed by on the humid streets of Mayapur, West Bengal, India…so I asked him to smile.
He was walking down a colonnade of covered shops, restaurants, and cafes one afternoon, as I felt right at home wandered the streets around ‘Little India’ in Singapore…so I asked him to smile.
He was watching as I photographed a group of kids one morning, while nearby villagers watched and laughed in Kakhsar, Gujarat, India…so I asked him to smile.
She was creating art, perched atop an ornamental bridge within the magnificent West Lake Gardens one afternoon, in Hangzhou in the Zhejiang Province of China…so i asked her to smile.
She was playing with a friend one evening, while they washed pots outside the family house in the village of Turtuk, Ladakh, India…so i asked her to smile.
I was wandering the streets one afternoon as she walked purposefully towards me on her way to somewhere else in Singapore…so i asked her to smile.
She was exiting the @netballaust building one evening, as I explored the colorful streets of Fitzroy, in Melbourne, Australia…so I asked her to smile.
He was painting a house as I wandered narrow lanes in the friendly and ancient village of Yavat one evening, in rural Uttar Pradesh, India…so I asked him to smile.
She was walking with a friend one morning, as the quite streets of Fort Kochi slowly came to life in Kerala, India…so i asked her to smile.
She was walking down a busy street as evening arrived in Fitzroy, a colorful suburb of Melbourne, Australia…so I asked her to smile.
He was standing outside a house that looked out over the village square in Khonoma, Nagaland, North-East India…so i asked him to smile.
She was walking with her son one morning, in the residential neighborhood I was wandering in Dwarka, Gujarat, India…so I asked her to smile.
We were driving from Hundar, when we stopped to talk to and photograph him and his workmates, as they labored under the harsh sun making the road to Pong gong Tso Lake in Ladakh, India…so i asked him to smile.
He was sitting on a wooden bench warming himself in the winter morning sun as we drove through Govardhan Town, in Uttar Pradesh, India…so i asked him to smile.
She was passing by, as I wandered a park one afternoon with my sister in Shanghai, China…so i asked her to smile.
He was walking towards me one foggy morning, along a mud path through the fields on the banks of the Yamuna river in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India…so i asked him to smile.