Then I Asked Them to Smile

One of the most difficult aspects of the project was asking people to take their picture. But once I did, I noticed a large difference between the neutral faces and the smiling faces. As soon as they smiled, they suddenly seemed less like strangers and more like friends. I realized that smiling, a universal sign of friendliness, clears most bias. Bias can affect a photographer in many ways. It may “warn” a photographer to stay away from one person, when that person may be the photographer’s future best friend. To erase bias, I would ask my clients to smile and tell me about their lives.

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