Smiles From Bangladesh | Part II | Photo Essay

Continuing with my weekly theme of showcasing photos, videos and stories from Bangladesh, I’m reviving one of my most popular travel photo essay series:  Smiles of X.

Research has proven that smiles are not only courageous, but they in fact boost your immune system.

It takes less effort (in terms of muscle movement) to smile than it does to frown; apparently, there are 19 different types of smiles ranging from polite social smiles to more sincere felt smiles.

Regardless, I hope this photo essay from Bangladesh will put a smile on your face.

This is part II of my smiles from Bangladesh series (click here for Smiles of Bangladesh part 1):

You can never have a fast enough shutter speed to capture the smiling faces and motions of happy children.

“You can never have a fast enough shutter speed to capture the smiling faces and motions of happy children.”

Normally as a street photographer I have to discreetly take photos of people; however, in Dhaka I was invited to take photos so frequently I actually had to turn down requests at time, so that I could continue to explore.

“Normally as a street photographer I have to discreetly take photos of people;
however, in Dhaka I was invited to take photos so frequently I actually had to turn down requests at time,
so that I could continue to explore.”

This Bangladeshi boy wearing a hoody flashes a distinct smile.

“This Bangladeshi boy wearing a hoody flashes a distinct smile on the streets of Dhaka.”

An ecstatic group of children wave to me from on top of a building nearby the Sadarghat in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“An ecstatic group of children wave to me from on top of a building nearby the Sadarghat in Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.”

We've got the money if you're got the time :P

“We’ve got the money if you’re got the time :P”

This jolly looking Bangladeshi man with a distinctly long white beard clasps his hands together and smiles.

“This jolly looking Bangladeshi man with a distinctly long white beard clasps his hands together and smiles.”

This Bangladeshi man proudly displays the birds in his hands in a hectic area of Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“This Bangladeshi man proudly displays the birds in his hands in a hectic area of Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.”

This cute boy was thrilled to have his photo taken as I was just randomly wandering around Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.

“This cute boy was thrilled to have his photo taken as I was just randomly wandering around Old Dhaka, Bangladesh.”

These two Bangladeshi men invited me to participate in a event for children held in the backyard of a home.

“These two Bangladeshi men invited me to participate in a event for children held in the backyard of a home.”

These two young men were beaming ear to ear grins when they approached me to take a portrait.  The smiles soon disappeared into more serious faces as I snapped this shot.

“These two young men were beaming ear to ear grins when they approached me to take a portrait.
The smiles soon disappeared into more serious faces as I snapped this shot.”

These boys huddled together and posed for a photo as I boarded a rowboat to explore the Buriganga River.

“These boys huddled together and posed for a photo as I boarded a rowboat to explore the Buriganga River.”

These three stooges were dancing, waving and smiling on board a larger vessel that we passed on the Buriganga River.

“These three stooges were dancing, waving and smiling on board a larger vessel that we passed on the Buriganga River.”

I'l never forget these cute smiling faces :)

“I’ll never forget these cute smiling faces :)”

A cute Bangladeshi boy waves hello to me.

“A cute Bangladeshi boy waves hello to me.”

This man invited me over to take his photo but then shyly looked away from the camera when it came time for me to press the shutter release.

“This man invited me over to take his photo but then shyly looked away
from the camera when it came time for me to press the shutter release.”


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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Marisol June 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Hi Sam,
Such wonderful photos. Love those smiling faces. They warm my heart. Bangladesh is always associated with poverty. I’m so glad to see through this post that although they’re poor they very rich in spirit. Goes to show that you cannot equate poverty with unhappiness.

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 12:57 am

Thanks! Isn’t that the truth. Some of the kindest people I’ve ever met lived in the most humble of conditions.

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Chris June 3, 2013 at 2:05 am

Some really great photos there mate. Well done. :)

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 12:57 am

Thank you Chris!

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Tiffany June 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

Wow. Some really great photos. I’m always amazed by how more often than not people are open and will agree to a photo if you ask them.

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 12:58 am

It never hurts to ask! You’re definitely right about that :)

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Brent Griffith June 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

I’m loving this series Samuel. Really cool to see so many happy people from all over the world.

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 1:16 am

Thanks Brent! I’m looking forward to sharing more very soon :)

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Colleen Bowen June 6, 2013 at 4:10 am

These pictures are so full of life and joy. Bangladeshis might be the most beautiful people in the world.

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 1:17 am

Thank you Colleen! They sure are a wonderful people :)

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Dariece - Goats On The Road June 6, 2013 at 5:27 am

Wow, you got some stunning shots! I love the one of the old man with the long beard. Great series. Great photos.

Cheers!

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 1:19 am

Thanks Dariece!

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Emma Spires June 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

Sam – what incredible photo’s; I really enjoyed this photo essay. My favourite is the fourth photo – the colours in the clothing is superb. Great work!

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Samuel June 8, 2013 at 1:18 am

Thank you Emma!

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Sista Voyage June 9, 2013 at 10:14 pm

The man in the last picture gotcha good!!!
When I first started traveling out of the country, I thought I would’ve received resistance from people when it came to taking pictures. Of course, I would ask them and to my amazement, they would be so willing to smile and pose for the camera. Now, there was this one time in Paris that I got the shock (and scare) of my life. I’d never been cussed out in French before, but that day, I received a lashing…followed by ‘have a good day.’ *confused*

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Samuel Jeffery June 15, 2013 at 4:38 am

Wow! I’ve had a similar experience once when I took a photo without asking. Yikes!

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Paula C. Wilkes June 12, 2013 at 5:46 am

Beautiful portraits! I never thought Bangladesh is an interesting country to visit. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Samuel Jeffery June 15, 2013 at 4:42 am

Thank you! I hope you’ll get a chance to discover it yourself for the first time.

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Nicole @ Green Global Travel June 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Wow. It’s amazing to see their smiles, yet you walk down some of the wealthy country’s street and you are lucky to get a glare from someone else!

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Samuel Jeffery June 15, 2013 at 4:44 am

That’s very true Nicole! The same can be said about trespassing. In Bangladesh I was often invited into local’s homes.

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Tim Moon June 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

It’s pretty cool how people are so open to engaging with you like that. As always, nice photos.

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Samuel Jeffery July 4, 2013 at 4:21 am

Thanks Tim!

I’ve honestly never been to a place where I had so many opportunities to take photos of people – both candid and posed.

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Marina K. Villatoro June 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Your photography always makes me smile. My brother is a professional photographer with a huge focus on people, rather than the places, although he does that too. But you have very similar styles so it draws me even more to your work.

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Samuel Jeffery July 4, 2013 at 4:23 am

Thanks Marina!

I’d love to see some galleries from your brother!

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Robin June 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Great photos – they really put a smile on my face as well!

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Samuel Jeffery July 4, 2013 at 4:25 am

Thanks Robin :) I’m so glad to hear that :)

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Travelling Mudskippers June 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Beautiful photos! We have been told that Bangladeshi people are very warm and friendly as your pictures certainly demonstrate, so we’ve been considering adding Bangladesh to our travel adventure. Your posts have definitely piqued our interest.

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Samuel Jeffery August 6, 2013 at 11:10 am

Thank you! They are such a kind and warm people :)

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Kathryn June 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

How lovely! So many happy people. Great series.

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Samuel Jeffery June 23, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Thanks Kathryn!

I have many more to come soon :)

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Stephen Evans June 22, 2013 at 3:39 pm

There are a number of heart-touching images. I have enjoyed all. Can you give more pictures like this?

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Samuel Jeffery June 23, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Thanks Stephen! I’m planning to share many more photo essays in the coming days :)

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Dan June 22, 2013 at 11:12 pm

So great to see so many smiling faces. Puts you in a good mood just looking at the photos. Awesome Post.

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Samuel Jeffery June 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Thanks Dan! That’s much appreciated; I find it hard to be in a bad mood when surrounded by smiles.

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Barbara June 27, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I could almost hear the laughter of the children in these images. What an amazing job you did in capturing these delightful photos. Smiles are indeed contagious; they put a smile on my face! Thank you for sharing.

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Samuel Jeffery July 4, 2013 at 4:20 am

Thanks Barbara!

Whenever I look at the photos I get a strong urge to revisit Bangladesh again soon.

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James @ Africa Tours June 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I am really intrigued by these shots. I am now motivated to try something similar. Thanks!

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Samuel Jeffery July 4, 2013 at 4:24 am

James, that’s awesome! All you need is a camera that can record video and software that can speed it up.

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Kevin July 8, 2013 at 3:01 am

Excellent photo essay, Samuel. Just a quick editing suggestion: The 5th photo – “We’ve got the money if YOU’VE got the time.” ;)

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Samuel Jeffery August 5, 2013 at 4:08 am

Hahaha…good idea Kevin :)

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Jade - Loving this photo essay July 9, 2013 at 11:02 pm

What a feel good post, I especially like the man with the birds, the movement in that shot is really sweet. =)

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Samuel Jeffery August 5, 2013 at 4:12 am

Thanks Jade! That shot with the man with the birds is kind of symbolic of life on the streets in Dhaka :)

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Kerry (Goodtrippers) July 11, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Such a lovely and simple idea – makes you realise how much happiness exists in the world, even when the news is focused on the bad. Would be nice to see more women in these pics though – where have they gone?! ;-)

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Samuel Jeffery August 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

Thanks Kerry!

Unlike India, where women dominate the streets you seldom see many in Bangladesh out on the streets.

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Ria Dancel July 18, 2013 at 11:24 am

These are wonderful photos, taking so much of the experiences of people through their smiles. Priceless! :)

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Samuel Jeffery August 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

Thanks Ria! Nothing quite like a smile :)

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Casey @ A Cruising Couple July 26, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Lovely photos. I’m definitely inspired to visit Bangladesh now! i bet those three stooges are a hoot to hang out with. Many Taiwanese people will invite us to photograph them, but when it comes time to say cheese they put on their most solemn face possible. Even my kindy kids do it! The end result is a picture where they look miserable haha.

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Samuel Jeffery August 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

LOL, that’s one of the main reasons I prefer taking candid shots of people (without them knowing) as opposed to posed shots.

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Sab August 4, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Wow. Amazing photos. Absolutely well captured. I wish I’ve taken them :) Keep up the good work!

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Samuel Jeffery August 6, 2013 at 11:19 am

Thanks Sab!

If you visit Bangladesh you’ll find the locals very open to having their photo taken.

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Ryan September 22, 2013 at 3:15 am

Samuel, I’m always amazed by your portrait skills. You capture such powerful and fun photos of people! When you wander around, do you ask to snap photos of people besides the ones that ask you?

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Samuel Jeffery September 23, 2013 at 2:11 am

Thanks Ryan!

It’s honestly a combination of both. When I’m taking candid shots I’m trying my best to not interfere.

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Raw Hasan November 12, 2013 at 10:11 am

Beautiful smiling faces from Bangladesh!

People who are more interested about visited Dhaka where these photos were taken can check out this tour

Raw Hasan
Owner, Nijhoom Tours
Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Mark April 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Smiling faces, even though or against all the poverty. Interesting photos, giving a different view on world.

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Samuel Jeffery April 11, 2014 at 8:29 am

Thanks Mark!

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