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Smiling women make a beautiful society, says ace photographer

Mar 09, 2014

Ace photographer Ashok Kochhar featured a mammoth collection of one thousand smiling female faces from all walks of life on the International Women’s Day in New Delhi. He believes that every woman has ample reason to smile everyday and not just on the Women’s Day. He tells us more about his exhibition, titled ‘A Million Smiles’.

Ashok Kochhar

OneWorld South Asia: Tell us about your exhibition titled ‘A Million Smiles’.

Ashok Kochhar:  I started this by capturing 101 beautiful faces with a modified DSLR camera.  When I displayed those images, there was an overwhelming response of volunteers (who were just passers-by).  And, I ended up shooting 1000 pictures or 1000 faces. Then, I asked myself why not 1 million and gave myself a target of one year to turn it into a sort of a movement.

OWSA: Why did you capture only women smiling faces, so far?

Kochhar:  The honest confession is that in today’s society we see that the pressure on women is much more than men.  Can you imagine 75 years of age and the ladies making such beautiful faces, that too in the open?  I have not edited these pictures. Editing in the sense deleted any photo because every face is so beautiful. So that gave me a unique insight into 50% of the population which has not been seen yet in the true sense.

OWSA:  You call it a sacred mission, what do you mean by that?

Kochhar:  Yes, it is a sacred mission. I think a smile is the biggest, the priceless thing in life. Like I have my grandson, and he smiles and throughout the day. I can still register his first smile seeing me and smiling. I cannot value it because it is priceless and brings joy to my life.

One reason is that I will like to see life in a positive way. I am not interested in negative life.

OWSA:  How do you think smiles can give strength to women?

Kochhar: Today, we are passing through a time which is very stressful and the level of stress is unimaginable. A smiling face reflects the inner joy. These are not just the smiling faces but the inner joy which they reflect in front of the camera by chance.  At this point of time, we can see a turning point where a woman is recognising her strength and reflecting it openly. A smiling woman reflects the overall wellbeing of her environment and not just herself.

Most of the time, she is going through a turmoil. A little smile tells about the kind of environment she wishes for herself.

OWSA:  What kind of impact can a smiling face of a woman have on our society?

Kochhar: Only a woman can bring in a very deep smile to others. A smiling woman brings smiles to the society, the family, children, and of course her husband, so there is a chain reaction to it.

Once that is being embedded, then the society is beautiful. A woman is the key component of society.

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