Smiles of China Part II

Welcome to another round of my smiling faces series from around the world.

Most people are aware that a smile is contagious but did you realize that it can boost your immune system? Apparently, when grinning from ear to ear, your body is in a more natural and relaxed state contributing to a stronger immune system.

Recently, I returned to mainland China for the first time in several years. I was excited to revisit areas in the South including Guilin and Yangshuo with Audrey.

Yangshuo is as close to paradise on earth as I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. Lush green karst mountains stand erect while rural roads lead to paths less traveled.

Compared to Hong Kong, our base for the past few weeks, it was a refreshing change of pace for the two of us.

We spent time going for relaxing walks around the city center and slow paced bicycle rides out in the countryside with no guidebooks or maps in hand.

When many people think of China they think of the Alpha cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai; however, authentic China, for me is just as much the countryside areas, serpentine rivers, rice terraces and karst mountains.

Compared to countries in SE Asia, locals are not as likely to beam a radiant grin; however, if you dig deep (as a photographer) you’ll be rewarded with candid portraits over time.  Here are a few of my favorites from 2010 :)

This cute little boy - wearing a poorboy cap - was smiling at me while taking a break from eating his section of corn on the cob in Lijiang, China.

This cute little boy – wearing a poorboy cap – was smiling at me while taking a break from eating his section of corn on the cob in Lijiang, China.

A Chinese man dressed in an elaborate regional costume and headdress smiles in Dali, China.

A Chinese man dressed in an elaborate regional costume and headdress smiles in Dali, China.

A captured this candid portrait of a Chinese man smiling while walking in one of the more hectic areas of Shanghai, China.

A captured this candid portrait of a Chinese man smiling while walking in one of the more hectic areas of Shanghai, China.

This group of smiling Chinese ladies were sharing a laugh nearby the touristic area of the Bund in Shanghai, China.

This group of smiling Chinese ladies were sharing a laugh nearby the touristic area of the Bund in Shanghai, China.

An adorably cute moment shared by child and mother nearby the Bund in Shanghai, China.

An adorably cute moment shared by child and mother nearby the Bund in Shanghai, China.

This Chinese lady with a toothy grin was performing in a Communist inspired show in downtown Guilin, China.

This Chinese lady with a toothy grin was performing in a Communist inspired show in downtown Guilin, China.

A group of Chinese ladies share an ear to ear smile/laugh with gums showing in hectic Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island, China.

A group of Chinese ladies share an ear to ear smile/laugh with gums showing in hectic Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island, China.

A Chinese lady wearing a vermilion color leather jacket walks down the street in Shanghai, China while talking on the phone.

A Chinese lady wearing a vermilion color leather jacket walks down the street in Shanghai, China while talking on the phone.

This young Chinese lady poses for a portrait nearby a monument in downtown Shanghai, China.

This young Chinese lady poses for a portrait nearby a monument in downtown Shanghai, China.

This Chinese man with a distinct long beard and sunhat shares a laugh with a friend on a park bench in Dali, China.

This Chinese man with a distinct long beard and sunhat shares a laugh with a friend on a park bench in Dali, China.

This Chinese lady flashes a smile while glancing out of the side of her eyes at the child she is carrying in her arms - Yangshuo, China.

This Chinese lady flashes a smile while glancing out of the side of her eyes at the child she is carrying in her arms – Yangshuo, China.

This Chinese lady smiles while hopping on the back of a motorbike in Shanghai, China.

This Chinese lady smiles while hopping on the back of a motorbike in Shanghai, China.

This lovely young Chinese lady weaves in downtown Lijiang, China while greeting me with a smile.

This lovely young Chinese lady weaves in downtown Lijiang, China while greeting me with a smile.

I hope these smiles from China brightened your day :) Do you have a favorite one?

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria October 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

So many beautiful portraits to choose from – “Chinese man smiling while walking in one of the more hectic areas of Shanghai, China” is my favorite – he looks genuinely pleased and as if he’s enjoying himself.

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Samuel Jeffery October 6, 2013 at 1:36 am

Thanks Maria!

I think that is one of my favorite ones as well. I like trying to capture those candid moments on the street :)

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Prasad Np October 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Beautiful pictures… all smiles are different yet they convey the same feeling of happiness and joy…..

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Samuel Jeffery October 6, 2013 at 1:37 am

Thanks you!

I agree with you completely :)

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Joanne Joseph October 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm

This is a wonderful collection of smiles, and yes, they did get a return smile from me. I have three that stood out as favorites: mother and child on the Bund, man with beard on park bench and girl on back of motorbike. Nicely done,

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Samuel Jeffery October 6, 2013 at 1:38 am

Thanks Joanne :)

The mother and child photo from the Bund was something I’ll always remember. It feels just like yesterday even though I snapped this over 2 years ago.

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Cole Van Horn October 6, 2013 at 9:59 am

I’m Living in Enshi, Hubei. My plans for winter break include Yangshuo and a few days around the area. How did you get from Guilin to Yangshuo itself? Is there a train or is bus better? Is there possibly a river boat? And how about hotel accommodations? Any help would be appreciated! Hope your stay in the PROC was fantastic!

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Samuel Jeffery October 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Cole,

It’s easy to get to and from Yangshuo and Guilin. You can do a touristy river cruise (which I recommend doing once) but on the way back consider taking the bus which is really cheap and is about an hour and a half trip.

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Renuka October 6, 2013 at 11:54 am

I am glad I saw these pictures :) very inspiring….they really made me smile :)

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Samuel Jeffery October 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Renuka! I’m thrilled to hear you felt inspired :)

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Mary @ Green Global travel October 7, 2013 at 12:42 am

You have caught some beautiful smiles in these images and I love that this has been a travel focus for you! I hope that you are enjoying beautiful Yangshuo!

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Samuel Jeffery October 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Thanks Mary!

We had such a great time in Yangshuo :)

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Iain Mallory October 7, 2013 at 12:51 am

Great seeing some smiles Samuel, and great photographs of them. People are my favourite subject, you’ve done a great job capturing these ones.

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Samuel Jeffery October 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Thanks Iain,

Taking people shots is my favorite subject as well; albeit tricky at times.

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Turtle October 7, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Wonderful shots, as always! I spent a bit of time in Yangshuo a few years ago because a good mate of mine was working there. I found the people to be so friendly and warm – so it’s no great surprise to see all the smiles you managed to capture!

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Samuel Jeffery October 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Thanks Michael,

I can see why people love it there. I would consider it as a base in the future.

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M.Borgarbúi October 9, 2013 at 12:17 am

When I went to China in 2012 I captured people from totally different point of view then you did. But it’s really nice to see that every photographer has its own ideas of what is important to capture. It’s like a mirror of our souls.

p.s. I will that all Chinese would smile a lot, at least for their health concerns :)

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 10:53 am

M.Borgarbui, I agree with you. I love looking at collection of photos to try and understand how the photographer interpreted the place.

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Alex Cardo @ Traveling Myself October 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm

What photo camera did you use for this shots? Which were ISO, diafragma parameters?

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

Alex,

I would have used a Sony A77 dslr with a 18-250 mm lens and sometimes a nifty 50 mm. My ISO fluctuates depending on the lighting conditions. Typically I shoot wide open in order to freeze the action (or in this case the faces).

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Juan - Myanmar Travel Essentials October 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

Great post, makes you smile!!! ;)

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

Thanks Juan :)

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Heather October 11, 2013 at 12:16 am

These are fabulous and make me want to hop the first flight back to Shanghai! :-)

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

Thanks Heather!

I hope you get to do that soon!

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Sand In My Suitcase October 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Luv these smiling faces from China! Our favorite is the little boy eating the corn on the cob. Nice idea for a post! And yes, it brightened our morning…

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

Thank you!

I’m glad it did :)

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lingholic October 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Fantastic pictures! You are a really talented photographer, Samuel. I had the chance to visit Hong Kong last February, but I’ve never been to the mainland. I’m getting itchy feet!

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:16 am

Thank you! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to visit soon.

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William Myers October 20, 2013 at 9:24 pm

This is so great! I’ve always wanted to visit China, I hope my turn is coming soon!

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Samuel Jeffery October 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Thanks! Indeed, best wishes with planning a trip to China in the near future!

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Zara @ Backpack ME October 21, 2013 at 5:05 am

Great portraits, as always!
Such smiley faces, such good vibes! :)

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Samuel Jeffery October 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Thanks Zara!

Smiles certainly do send good vibes :)

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Morgan November 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Gorgeous portraits! I actually, unknowingly, found myself smiling as I scoured through them. It’s pretty hard not to smile when you see others so happy.

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:17 am

Thanks Morgan!

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Chanel @ La Viajera Morena November 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I love all of these beautiful smiles :D

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Samuel Jeffery November 25, 2013 at 11:18 am

Thanks Chanel!

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Ivana November 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Happy pictures :) Really make smile and joy. Do you usually show them to the people you shoot? Or send them digital version potentially?
I believe they all would be happy to see their lovely faces :)

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Samuel Jeffery November 13, 2013 at 8:05 am

I often do – especially with children!

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Ryan December 12, 2013 at 2:32 am

Amazing photos. You know ya a great photo set when the photos themselves have you smiling. Cheers Samuel!

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Samuel Jeffery December 15, 2013 at 3:55 am

Thanks Ryan! That means a lot to me to know that it put a smile on your face as well :)

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Jon Wilmore December 31, 2013 at 5:50 am

Such great pictures. China is one of my favourite holiday destinations. Loving the food and the culture there.

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Ian January 22, 2014 at 2:42 am

Those are amazing photos! China has always been on top of my places to visit before I die. I love their culture and the people!

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