so i asked them to smile

A Photographer Is Asking These Stern Looking Strangers To Smile. And What Happens Next Is So Human.

What makes you comfortable with a stranger?

To most of us, a smile is more than enough to make a stranger approachable and friendly. Whether the smile you have on your face is forced or from the heart, it does transform your face and changes the way you, as a person, are viewed and perceived.

Meet Jay Weinstein. This Mumbai-based, Hindi-speaking photographer of Australian-American-Ukrainian-English heritage is the man behind an inspiring project called “…So I Asked Them to Smile“.

At the age of 3 he moved to India along with his parents and spent the next 12 years living in Vrindavan. In 2004, he moved to Mumbai with a hope to become an actor. With his fluent Hindi and Western look, he soon landed roles in a number of TV shows, films, and commercials. Jay, with time, shifted his focus to film production and later advertising. These gradually transformed into the photography trips he is now addicted to.

During our conversation, Jay candidly shared how the project kick started and the concept behind it.

So I Asked Them To Smile” – The Project

It was nothing planned. The project just happened one fine day in Bikaner Rajasthan, in India, the country he now calls his home.

smile
Jay Weinstein

Walking along a busy market street one evening, I saw a man I wanted to photograph. He was dressed in a traditional loose-fitting tunic and pants and a green skullcap. His eyes intimidated me: they seemed like the eyes of a man who has seen enough – glazed, humorless, alive only to his memories.

Not knowing how to approach him, I turned to the men near him standing outside their cloth store, bemused by the foreign photographer in their midst. They were, however, happy to be photographed, and soon we were chatting like old friends. Then a voice called out to me lightheartedly, “Mere bhi photo lena!” (“Take my photo too!”)

Happily, I turned to face him, camera in hand and asked him to smile. And clicked his photograph.“, says Jay about how the concept got triggered in his mind.

he smiled
The man who smiled to get clicked

He continues to share his thoughts, “He was a different person with that grin! I realized then that most of us are strangers.  And we read and project a set of values based primarily on facial expressions. We also don’t take much time to jump to our conclusions and move on. Thus, we miss out on meeting some really lovely people.

I thought it would be fun to capture a smiling and unsmiling version of some of the people I met on my photography walks. I wanted to recreate the experience of meeting strangers, no names, no stories; just two versions of a human face. The purpose of this project, like a mirror, is to help discover something about us.  How do we react? What do we know? Is it important to smile?

To me personally “So I asked them to smile” shows that we are all fundamentally the same regardless of nationality, gender, religion, or socio-economic status.

A smile humanizes, making people more approachable, and that is what I love about it.

Witness the magic of a smile as he captures these amazing faces of strangers across India that transforms after they smile.

Explore more such amazing photographs and stay connected with Jay’s project on Facebook.

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]1.[/su_dropcap]


An old man in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India.

smile-1

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]2.[/su_dropcap]


Outside St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, India

smile-2

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]3.[/su_dropcap]


Pune, Maharashtra, India

smile-3

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]4.[/su_dropcap]


Hampi, Karnataka, India

smile-4

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]5.[/su_dropcap]


Latikynsew Village, Meghalaya, North East India

smile-5

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]6.[/su_dropcap]


Kisama, Nagaland, North-East India

smile-7

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]7.[/su_dropcap]


Ral Village, Uttar Pradesh, India

smile-8

 

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]8.[/su_dropcap]


Bandra, Mumbai, India

smile-10

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]9.[/su_dropcap]


Juhu, Mumbai, India

smile-11

Keep smiling and share this story to spread the magic of a smile.

Syed Muksit

Syed Muksit

I am human enough to hope, brave enough to fail, and foolish enough to try again! I believe in the power of goodness and the infinite possibilities to change the world for good. You, me, and everyone around us have a story that is only waiting to be told to change our perspectives towards things that matter and inspire many others to do their potential bit.

Share Your Thoughts

 

:: DISCLAIMER ::

1. Images:

Not all images in every story are owned by us or by our contributing authors. We, at times, use images from the web that closely represent the story theme. And we make sure to provide due credit to those images by linking back to their original sources. If you find any such image which you own and want us to remove it from our site, please send us a mail via this form with a proof that you are the owner of the image in question. We will remove it at the earliest.

We respect your concern.

2. Information:

Though we make all efforts to verify the accuracy of the content we create or curate, the same should not be construed as a statement of law or used for any legal purposes. In case of any ambiguity or doubts, you are advised to verify with the source(s) and also inform us so that we can update the corrected and validated information.

Read full disclaimer...