When someone greets you with a smile, you get positive energy from them. A simple can make a huge difference to your day. So, photographer Jay Weinstein traveled the world to meet different people from diverse cultures to just ask them to smile. He captures people smiling and made them realize that how beautiful they look with a smile on their faces.

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“He was wandering home one evening with his friend, walking along the stone wall-lined lanes that cut through the lush fields of Hundar, in the starkly stunning Nubra Valley of Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India…so I asked him to smile.”

Hiptoro reached out to the author to know more about his passion for the project. He said,”What I love most about this photography project is that it forces me to face my fears and approach people I don’t know. It forces me to challenge whatever preconceptions I have of them and learn again and again how inaccurate my assumptions are. Most of all, at this time of division, ‘so I asked them to smile’ stands as a profound and loving reminder of how much we all truly have in common.”

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“She was playing with her mom on a dirt lane off the main road as I explored the vibrant and colorful shops and homes on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya…so I asked her to smile.”

He further told us that he started his journey in 2013 to capture as many beautiful smiles as he could. “I have spent most of my life, and much of most years, in India. I lead small group tours, photograph and explore this stunningly beautiful, complex, and multifaceted culture. Thus most of my images are from India. I have also brought this project to China, Singapore, Australia, Kenya, and Nepal. The dream is to one day take ‘so I asked them to smile’ to every country on earth. Let’s see what my time, finances, and the post-COVID-19 world look like!”




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“She was playing outside her home in the village of Kakhsar, Gujarat, India…so I asked her to smile.”

When asked which was his favorite trip out of all, the photographer replied, “That is a truly impossible question to answer! What is truly memorable for me is how sweet, kind, and friendly 99% of the people I meet are, in every country I visit, once I make the effort of talking to them. [In terms of who smiles the most] If forced to guess an answer, I would say India. I would also add that almost everyone I have approached, in every country, has smiled easily and with so much joy that it humbles me to share in that moment.”

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“She was walking with her friends one evening as I photographed a donkey enclosure in the beautiful and isolated plateau village of Turtuk, Ladakh, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India…so I asked her to smile.”

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“He was hunched over the remains of a fire and empty pot of tea as I approached his house one afternoon in Muthatari, near Embu, in the Eastern Province of Kenya…so I asked him to smile.”

The author wrapped it up beautifully himself, saying that “The project has no overt message to convey, though it has plenty to say. What I hear from ‘so i asked them to smile’ is that we all have far more in common than we are told. I see a simple human smile speaking through whatever barriers class, economic status, ethnicity, sex, religion, or geographic location create.”

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“She was playing on the streets with her friends one evening as I wandered around the old town of Leh, in Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India…so I asked her to smile.”

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“He was waiting in line at 7 AM outside the post office opening at 11 AM, that exchanges invalidated 500 and 1000 rupee notes for newly printed currency, in Jojowar, Rajasthan, India…so I asked him to smile.”

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“He was playing with his brothers in the family compound, having just returned from school and discarding his uniform one humid afternoon in Nirdoi, a sleepy village on the banks of the river Ganges, in West Bengal, India…so i asked him to smile.”

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“He was playing with friends and family one afternoon in the web of narrow lanes that make up the old part of the ancient city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India…so i asked him to smile.”

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“She was exploring the stunningly restored, 1300-year-old Kaiyuan temple complex one evening in Quanzhou, Fujian, China…so I asked her to smile.”