SMILE!

Date

February 4, 2016
00:00–23:59PM EDT

Feb 4 – Mar 4, 2016
Gulf Photo Plus
Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz
Dubai, UAE

There’s a story about a photographer who for years worked throughout Asia. She’d arrive in each new country with her bags of equipment and find a local fixer to take her to meet her subjects. In each new language she learned the words “Don’t Smile!”, which she’d bark at her subjects before she shot their picture.

After all–smiling is contagious, outwardly carefree, and may remove sentiments of objectivity or hard-hitting news value. There is something about a smiling subject that could suggest inauthenticity or a lack of gravitas in the moment; the very act of smiling seems to soften the drama of an otherwise weighty situation.

A cursory search of archival images by world-renowned VII Photo agency photographers seems to show we often frown upon smiles in our photographs.

The Smile exhibition brings together images of people smiling – most often a taboo expression in photojournalism – into a collection of powerful images gathered during the most important historical events that have shaped the past thirty years. Compiled as a group, they reveal the astonishing range of human behavior that smiles represent.

Pride powers a smile, power emboldens a smile, we smile to seduce or be seduced. But we also smile when we lie, when we’re scared or anxious. In fact, just one variant of the eighteen different smiles recognizes enjoyment, and it’s this universal variant that unites us as human beings.

Smile explores how a seemingly simple action manifests in our world; from the most depressing, violent, dysfunctional and poverty stricken conditions to the warmth and security of joy, affection, love and home. And between those two worlds – of fear and contentment – is the smile we give to the cameras of expression.

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