Why Don’t People Smile in India?

Jan 9, 2016 7228

Young smiling girl, Delhi India

See what beautiful smiles they have!

We post a lot of Gospel ministry photos from India. What you don’t know is that I am always pleading with Pr Joseph to make sure that when he sends me photos, the people in them are smiling. I tell him that our readers will think that the people in the photos are sad and gloomy, when in reality they are happy and rejoicing. I have been there, I have seem their beautiful smiles.

The reality is that it is a cultural thing. Remember the early days of photography in the West, when everyone adopted a stiff and formal pose, often looking seemingly unhappy? A similar thing happens in the third world, not only in India, but also in Africa.


Not so long ago in the West, looking serious for photos was the proper thing to do, as Abraham Lincoln demonstrates here.

Most of these people have never been photographed before. Even if they have been laughing and smiling a moment ago, as soon as they see the camera come out, they adopt their most serious, formal pose.

Of course it is also true that some of these people have very hard and difficult lives. In spite of that, they smile and laugh, and even sing and dance when they understand and accept the Gospel!

So we try our best to get photos of smiling, happy people, but I know you will understand. These dear people take photographs very seriously, so usually, they don’t smile 🙂

– Grace and peace

Eliezer Gonzalez

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