47 Portraits That Show The Power Of Smiling And May Change The Way You Look At Strangers (New Pics)

In 2013, the Australian traveler and photographer Jay Weinstein met a smile that changed everything. While wandering the streets in Bikaner, India, Jay spotted a man leaning against a row of motorbikes. The photographer was immediately drawn to the stranger, but felt it was best to avoid him. “Take my picture too!” the man shouted at Jay, who was shooting nearby objects, and Jay replied with a simple “Smile!”

This encounter started an almost decade-long mission of capturing strangers on the streets of the world, before and after them smiling. The simple act, sometimes genuine, other times forced, bears the transformative powers that lighten up the face and seemingly open up the soul within.

So let’s take a look at Jay’s captivating portraits from his ongoing “so I asked them to smile” series that, according to the author, documents the very universal side of smiling: that which “overcomes religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and language.”

After you’re done, check out our previous posts with smiling people here and here.

More info: Instagram | Facebook | SoIAskedThemToSmile.com#1 

He Was Standing One Morning, Outside The Open Door To A Home In An Old Hutong Neighborhood, Near The Forbidden City In Beijing, China... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was standing one morning, outside the open door to a home in an old Hutong neighborhood, near the forbidden city in Beijing, China… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report20pointsPOST

glowworm21 hour ago

Aw! He’s really cute!1ReplyView more comments#2 

He Was Standing At His Stall, In Front Of The Train Station One Afternoon, As The Entire City Of Thiruvananthapuram Went On A Three Day Strike In Kerela, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was standing at his stall, in front of the train station one afternoon, as the entire city of Thiruvananthapuram went on a three-day strike in Kerela, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report20pointsPOST

Islafoxcraft47 minutes ago

Beautiful smile1Reply#3 

He Was Walking Down The Street Lined With Cafes And Bars, As The Sun Set Over Colorful Fitzroy, In Melbourne, Australia... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down the street lined with cafes and bars, as the sun set over colorful Fitzroy, in Melbourne, Australia… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report17pointsPOST

fu yu1 hour ago

Great smile!0Reply#4 

He Was Walking Down A Street With A Group Of Pilgrims One Morning, As I Wandered The Ancient Pilgrimage Town Of Dwarka In Gujarat, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down a street with a group of pilgrims one morning, as I wandered the ancient pilgrimage town of Dwarka in Gujarat, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report14pointsPOST

Hooked1 hour ago

Oh my God, it suits him so well. He smiles with his face, not only his mouth0Replyhttps://ba6ab03f92f7888c482c2818a4f01e8f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html#5 

He Was Waiting For The Traffic Light To Turn Green One Evening, As I Walked Across A Busy Traffic Intersection In Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka... So I Asked Him To Smile

 He was waiting for the traffic light to turn green one evening, as I walked across a busy traffic intersection in Koramangala, Bengaluru, Karnataka… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report14pointsPOST

glowworm21 hour ago

The woman with him also smiled! This is very cute!0Reply#6 

He Was In His Dimly Lit Shop As The Sky Faded Into Night In The Village Of Tharangambadi, As We Waited For A Bus In Tamil Nadu, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was in his dimly lit shop as the sky faded into night in the village of Tharangambadi, as we waited for a bus in Tamil Nadu, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report13pointsPOST#7 

She Was Playing With A Friend One Evening Outside The Family House In The Village Of Turtuk, Ladakh, India... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was playing with a friend one evening outside the family house in the village of Turtuk, Ladakh, India… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report13pointsPOST

Ami Temi2 hours ago

Awww, such a cutie!1Reply#8 

He Was Playing Cricket With Friends One Morning, In The Midst Of Countless Other Cricket Games Running Simultaneously In The Oval Maidan Park In Mumbai, Maharashtra, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was playing cricket with friends one morning, in the midst of countless other cricket games running simultaneously in the oval Maidan park in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report11pointsPOST#9 

She Was With A Her Family, Outside Their Simple Home In The Village Of Gaudrum, One Rainy Afternoon In West Bengal, India... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was with a her family, outside their simple home in the village of Gaudium, one rainy afternoon in west Bengal, India… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report11pointsPOST#10 

He Was Walking Near The Lavander Metro Station One Hazy Afternoon In Singapore... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking near the Lavander metro station one hazy afternoon in Singapore… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report10pointsPOST#11 

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

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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report10pointsPOST#12 

She Was Walking With Her Son One Morning, In The Residential Neighbourhood I Was Wandering In Dwarka, Gujarat, India... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was walking with her son one morning, in the residential neighbourhood I was wandering in Dwarka, Gujarat, India… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report10pointsPOST

Jelly the Bean2 hours ago

Is it just me or is this a duplicate of the one above?0ReplyView more comments#13 

She Was With A Group Of Dancers, Taking A Break From Recording A Church Choir Music Video On The Helipad Of The Kenyatta International Convention Center, While The Sun Set Over Nairobi, Kenya... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was with a group of dancers, taking a break from recording a church choir music video on the helipad of the Kenyatta international convention center, while the sun set over Nairobi, Kenya… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report9pointsPOST

fu yu1 hour ago

Pretty as a picture.0ReplyView more comments#14 

She Was Sitting With Friends In A Quite Section Of Uhuru Park, Bellow The Towering Buildings That Make Up The Central Business District Of Nairobi, Kenya... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was sitting with friends in a quiet section of Uhuru park, below the towering buildings that make up the central business district of Nairobi, Kenya… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report9pointsPOST

saida kamau1 hour ago

Lovely0Reply#15 

He Was Sitting Outside A Shop One Afternoon As I Explored The The Vibrant And Colorful Shops And Homes On The Outskirts Of Nairobi, Kenya... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was sitting outside a shop one afternoon as I explored the the vibrant and colorful shops and homes on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST#16 

He Was Standing Outside His Family Compound, Promptly Invited Us In For Chai And Rotis, As We Explored The Village Of Bel Van In Uttar Pradesh, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was standing outside his family compound, promptly invited us in for chai and rotis, as we explored the village of Bel Van in Uttar Pradesh, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST#17 

She Was Sitting Behind A Stall, As I Wandered The Dusty Back Streets Of Embu In The Eastern Province Of Kenya... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was sitting behind a stall, as I wandered the dusty back streets of Embu in the eastern province of Kenya… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST#18 

He Was Leaving The Quiet Square Outside The Sri Krishna Matha Temple In Udupi, As I Wandered Amongst Peaceful Pilgrims One Morning In Karnataka, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was leaving the quiet square outside the Sri Krishna matha temple in Udupi, as I wandered amongst peaceful pilgrims one morning in Karnataka, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

He has a nice smile 1Reply#19 

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 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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST#20 

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

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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST#21 

He Was Walking Down The Cafe, Bar And Restaurant Studded Street, With A Friend, As The Sun Set Over The Inner City Neighbourhood Of Singapore... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down the cafe, bar and restaurant studded street, with a friend, as the sun set over the inner city neighbourhood of Singapore… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report8pointsPOST#22 

She Was Passing By, As I Wandered A Park One Afternoon With My Sister In Shanghai, China... So I Asked Her 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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report7pointsPOST#23 

She Was Walking Toward Me Along The Busy Street, As The Sun Set Over Colorful Fitzroy, In Melbourne, Australia... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was walking toward me along the busy street, as the sun set over colorful Fitzroy, in Melbourne, Australia… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report7pointsPOST#24 

She Was Exploring The Peaceful Nan Lian Gardens One Afternoon, As I Wandered The Traditional Chinese Nature-Scape In Hong Kong... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was exploring the peaceful Nan Lian gardens one afternoon, as I wandered the traditional Chinese nature-scape in Hong Kong… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report7pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

She smiled with her whole face! This one made me smile a lot. I see the gardens did her some good!1Reply#25 

He Was Standing Outside An ATM On The Busy, Shop Lined, Linkin Road One Afternoon, As I Explored Khar (W) With My Camera, In Mumbai, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was standing outside an ATM on the busy, shop lined, linkin road one afternoon, as I explored Khar (W) with my camera, in Mumbai, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report7pointsPOSThttps://ba6ab03f92f7888c482c2818a4f01e8f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html#26 

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 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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report6pointsPOST#27 

He Was Walking Toward Me, As The Sun Set Over The Colorful Streets Of Fitzroy, In Melbourne, Australia... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking toward me, as the sun set over the colorful streets of Fitzroy, in Melbourne, Australia… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report6pointsPOST#28 

He Was Standing Outside A Simple Dwelling One Humid And Overcast Afternoon, In Nirdoi, A Sleepy Village On The Banks Of The River Ganges, In West Bengal, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was standing outside a simple dwelling one humid and overcast afternoon, in Nirdoi, a sleepy village on the banks of the river Ganges, in West Bengal, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report6pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

He looks so much younger in the 2nd one!1Reply#29 

He Was Walking Down The Bustling Banke Bihari Temple Street During The Janmastami Festival In Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down the bustling banke Bihari temple street during the Janmastami festival in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report6pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

AWWWWWWWW!!!!!! He looks so happy!0Reply#30 

He Was Waiting In Traffic, As I Crossed The Street One Evening In The Koramangala Area Of Bengaluru, Karnataka... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was waiting in traffic, as I crossed the street one evening in the Koramangala area of Bengaluru, Karnataka… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report6pointsPOST#31 

She Was Walking Near The Long Museum, As The Sun Set Over The Throng Of People Lazing On The Grass Along The West Bund, In Shanghai, China... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was walking near the long museum, as the sun set over the throng of people lazing on the grass along the west bund, in Shanghai, China… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report5pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

Awww0Reply#32 

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

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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report5pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

He looks happy!0Reply#33 

He Was Walking Through Uhuru Park One Afternoon, As Workers On Their Lunch Break Hustled Past Others Sat On The Sturdy Green Grass Lawns Surrounding The Small Boating Lake In Nairobi, Kenya... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking through Uhuru park one afternoon, as workers on their lunch break hustled past others sat on the sturdy green grass lawns surrounding the small boating lake in Nairobi, Kenya… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report5pointsPOST#34 

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 walking toward me one evening, as I explored the outer edge of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report5pointsPOST#35 

He Was Taking A Breather With Some Other Badminton Players, Outside Their Practice Facility Near Joo Chiat Rd, In Singapore... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was taking a breather with some other badminton players, outside their practice facility near Joo Chiat rd, in Singapore… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#36 

He Was Walking Down A Residential Street With Some Friends One Overcast Afternoon, On The Streets Of Krishna Nagar, West Bengal, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down a residential street with some friends one overcast afternoon, on the streets of Krishna Nagar, West Bengal, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#37 

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

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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

I love, love, love this one!0Reply#38 

He Was Walking Down A Street In Raja Market One Late Morning, As The Shops Slowly Began To Open In Bengaluru, Karnataka, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down a street in Raja market one late morning, as the shops slowly began to open in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#39 

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

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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#40 

He Was Behind The Counter Of A Shop One Sticky Afternoon, As I Explored The Colorful Streets Of Joo Chiat, Singapore... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was behind the counter of a shop one sticky afternoon, as I explored the colorful streets of Joo Chiat, Singapore… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#41 

He Was Sitting In A Small Shop One Afternoon, Along A Sleepy Street In Krishna Nagar, West Bengal, India... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was sitting in a small shop one afternoon, along a sleepy street in Krishna Nagar, West Bengal, India… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#42 

She Was Playing With Friends Outside Her House, As Her Parents Watched, On A Side Street Near The Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple In Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India... So I Asked Her To Smile

She was playing with friends outside her house, as her parents watched, on a side street near the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India… So I asked her to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST

Dog Fan For Life1 hour ago

Cute!0Reply#43 

He Was Offering His Respects With 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 offering his respects with 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

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#44 

He Was Walking With Friends, As I Photographed The Residential Streets Of Port Melbourne One Afternoon In Melbourne, Australia... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking with friends, as I photographed the residential streets of port Melbourne one afternoon in Melbourne, Australia… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report4pointsPOST#45 

He Was Walking Towards Me As I Returned To My Friends Apartment Near The Yarra River In Central Melbourne, Victoria, Australia... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking towards me as I returned to my friends apartment near the Yarra river in central Melbourne, Victoria, Australia… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report3pointsPOST#46 

He Was Walking Down Joo Chiat Rd One Afternoon, As I Explored The Area With My Camera, In Singapore... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was walking down Joo Chiat rd one afternoon, as I explored the area with my camera, in Singapore… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report3pointsPOST#47 

He Was Taking A Break From Cutting Wood One Morning, As We Wandered The Sacred Hill In Hangzhou In The Zhejiang Province Of China... So I Asked Him To Smile

He was taking a break from cutting wood one morning, as we wandered the sacred hill in Hangzhou in the Zhejiang province of China… So I asked him to smile

soiaskedthemtosmile Report3pointsPOST

Follow Bored Panda on Google News!Share on Facebook48 Liucija AdomaiteWriter, BoredPanda staff

Liucija Adomaite is a creative mind with years of experience in copywriting. She has a dynamic set of experiences from advertising, academia, and journalism. This time, she has set out on a journey to investigate the ways in which we communicate ideas on a large scale. Her current mission is to find a magic formula for how to make ideas, news, and other such things spread like a virus. Read more »Show All Contributors

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