In December 2013, a photographer named Jay Weinstein was on a trip to Bikaner in the deserts of Rajasthan, India, when he spotted a man that piqued his interest. His first desire was to photograph the stranger, but the look of fierce intimidation stopped him in his tracks.
He relayed on Bored Panda that he ended up avoiding the man until the stranger jovially called out, “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 project would be. So I asked them to smile was born. I wanted to document the effect of the human smile on a strangers face.
In the days, months and years that followed, I asked random people on my photography adventures (mostly on the streets of India) to pose unsmiling and with a smile. These images 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.”
It’s easy to ignore a stranger based upon the lack of warmth they might be exuding, but that demeanor can be transformed in an instant, as Weinstein found out. Following are 29 photos the India/Australia based photographer captured.
“So there are no names. No occupations. No confirmed religions or ethnicity. No intriguing life lessons or heart strumming anecdotes. Just one human face. Without, and with a smile.”