The Power of a Smile

Published Jun 15, 2014 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 27 Contributors

    27 photos selected by

    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel
    • 0

    I met her while visiting my relatives in hospital. She was very nice, always encouraged her son t...

    #happiness #vietnamese #saigon #woman #mother #child #vietnam #smile #hospital #power_of_a_smaile

    Upon first thought, a smile seems pretty straightforward.  It is easy to picture friendly “hellos” and rooms of laughter. The range of emotions that came with building this edit was wider than I would have imagined.  Some smiles were subtle and showed a deeply complex happiness; like that of a man hugging his first daughter after having thirteen sons. Some were purely silly; three cousins ready for a snorkel adventure in a bathtub.  I’d like to start the story with this image by Giang- a quintessential smile. This is a smile you cannot look at without returning.

    I noticed pretty quickly that the edit had many more photos of children than I expected. As I looked into why this might be, I learned that children tend to smile more than adults. In fact, over ten times more than adults do each day, on average.

    For me, this story truly brought the expression “smiling is universal” to life. As the images travel across many countries and ages, we travel through lives and moments that everyone can understand and enjoy.

    This family are Ethnic minorities Call "Lolo" located at Lung Cu, Ha Giang Provine. In their holi...

    #hagiang #vietnam #vietnameses

    Editor's Note

    Things that come in threes are quite pleasing to the eye. This moment has it all. Two groups of three spread across the frame, three smiles and three things making them smile. The joy, the motion, the composition...great capture.

    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel

    I was photographing a self-help group meeting for ex-sex workers in India as part of a story abou...

    #devadasi #empowerment #portraits #sexworkers #people #selfhelp #india #smile #joyful

    Yosef cradles his beloved daughter, the first girl following thirteen sons.

    #hug #morocco #daughter #family #love #shoemaker #north_africa #father #embrace #cuddle

    "Thank you... Apple, for adding a camera to the iPod Nano. Now it's just like the iPhone except i...

    #portrait #taegan #smile

    A slum boy returning from mid day meal school. his school bags was old and turn and his umbrella ...

    #slum #smile_assignment #summer #smile

    A child watches the solar eclipse in the yard of his family's house in Conakry, Guinea on Novembe...

    #conakry #explore #fun #discover #adventure #eclipse #child #thehumanstory #travel #smile #africa

    I catched the spontaneous moment of childhood.

    #child_face #child

    Editor's Note

    I love this photo. Joy and curiosity in the simple things. I'm glad you got nice and low so that we're all on the same plane. Things seem fun down there!

    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel

    A mother picks up her baby, playfully throwing him up before she kisses him.

    Editor's Note

    Perfect light silhouette around child's face. I love how fun and free the pose is, and the light pouring in around the mothers face. Beautiful image.

    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel

    The cousins Liv, Magda & Vilson on a grand adventure in grandmom's jacuzzi.

    #diving #elite #scubadive #bathtub #jacuzzi #scuba #swimmers #kids

    Audrey, surrounded by her mother and supportive friends, smiles at her cake at her fourth birthda...

    #children #love #birthday #support #party

    Vivian was very happy and satisfied smiling at her four years old birthday cake with four candles...

    #happy #happiness #bokeh #family #home #birthday #light #vivian #candle #child #girl #smile #cake

    Miranda, immediately following her corrective cleft lip surgery. For many individuals, having thi...

    #mexico #veracruz #veracruzmexico #smiles #medico #surgery #smile #cleftlip #austintexas

    Smiling does have a very real power. This story brought to life the importance of our smiles, and all the complications that can come with having a problem like a cleft lip that may prevent us from showing our emotions, sharing a friendly smile or enjoying a joke as effortlessly as most of us do. 

    Wodaabe nomads inhabit the harsh lands of the Sahel in North Africa, their lives being totally ...

    #tribal_people #sahal #niger #wodaabe #beauty

    In African Traditional Society it is culture to seek the knowledge and wisdom from the elders. Gr...

    #magiqbaby #thepowerofasmile #people #travel #shootingkenya #africa #documentaryphotography

    I was walking around at a private zoo in Queretaro, Mexico. I was attracted by the newest member ...

    #colt #pure #love #foal #animal #smile #horse

    Happy grandmother , Yi nationality , Liangshan Sichuan

    #sichuan #wwwstevenchouvfxcn #liangshan #smile

    I heard laughter coming from the bathroom where my daughter was bathing, so I grabbed the camera....

    #bubblebath

    Doting Dog.

    #husky #samoyed #white #black #canon #smile #dog

    Editor's Note

    The two of them seem to be sharing a special moment with soft, friendly smiles. A wonderful image and beautiful light on the young boy's face.

    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel

    During one of the quiet times between busy holiday errands, the kids sat down and played a game w...

    #christmas #boardgame #family #home #children #game #smile #kids

    A smiling, happy Maasai is photographed riding his bike over the Ngong Hills towards home.

    #ngong #hills #transport #mountains #kenya #maasai #bike #chris_minihane #smile #africa #red

    Working on a smile

    #hands #hygiene #mouth #i #cleaning #sunglasses #mirror #gloves #child #girl #dentist #smile #teeth #iphone

    Running through the crick with friends is sure to bring laughter and smiles galore!

    #laughter #portrait #crick #boys #smile #blackandwhite

    A smile which appeared at the end of row. Kids having swimming lesson.

    #children #smile

    children smiles are blessing

    Two people enjoying a ride in a Rickshaw in Kurashiki, Japan.

    #white #black #candid #monochrome #street #fujifilm #people #travel #kurashiki #x20 #city #japan #place

    Three days before Josh's wedding, his sister Amanda, surprised him with the best wedding gift he ...

    #brother_and_sister #anticipatethemoment #siblings #reunited #smile #emotions #happy_tears

    Editor's Note

    You don't need to see the smile in this image to feel it. The tightness of the shot brings a beautiful intimacy to it. Thank you for sharing this image and story with us.

    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel

    While a posed smile is easy enough for many, a genuine smile can be quite out of our control; from the cheek aching smile that started our story, to this emotionally hidden smile of a soldier reuniting with her brother before his wedding day. Many of the smiles we see each day are irrepressible. Whether they come with tears of joy or roaring laughter, keep letting them out, because they can be enormously contagious and good for your health!

    About the Editor
    Marie McGrory
    Producer, Nat Geo Travel
    Marie McGrory is a Producer with National Geographic Travel. She believes photography can help us find the moments, feelings, and stories that transcend cultural boundaries.