Smile!

One thing that cracks me up with most of the adults in my family and some of the other adults I photographed in Nigeria is their inability to smile in pictures. I kid you not: the minute the camera comes out, they put on a look that screams “my dog just died” or “NEPA will not be returning light for the next 365 days”. Yes, they look that sad. The worst part is before the picture they can be laughing or smiling and generally having a good time but all of that disappears when the camera comes out. (And before you say it, they wanted to be photographed, or so they told me. I was often asked to get my camera, as opposed to whipping it out and forcing people to pose.)

Want some proof? Here are some pictures from my grandmother’s birthday celebration. The words “birthday” and “celebration” usually conjure up images of smiling, happy people, don’t they? Well have a look:

Not even one person cracked a smile! Even my grandma sef looked like she’d rather be anywhere than there. And when they were spraying her, she had the same expression on her face, see?

In contrast, the kids enjoyed smiling:

But all is not lost: if you’re sneaky, you can catch the adults smiling too:

21 thoughts on “Smile!

  1. ahh nice pictures, but the one with the kid making a ' i want chop) sign with his hand was slightly disturbing (3rd picture of smiling kids)..

    Its true the older generation have problems smiling in pictures, but my mother has started cheesing, only my dad leftt lol

  2. Is this encouraging…this one that the old ones dont smile and the kids smile…are you sure there is need to grow up :-)

    Anyway, like you said "But all is not lost: if you’re sneaky, you can catch the adults smiling too…" and I want to be smiling even in old age…

  3. Guess your family members are serious pple. or they just feel they look better in pics with a straight face.

    U must have enjoyed 9ja.

  4. From my own experience, picture taking is usually taken as a serious matter in 9ja — at least amongst the older people i've been around… So maybe the urge to stand that bit straighter, "pose" and all what not also subconciously makes us get a serious facial expression.. Looked at my own pics too.. the ones that were serious, i had no smiles on… the ones in informal settings i was smiling…….

  5. lol' my granma barely smiles for pictures too, she always has the serious pose/look on.

    you can always trust children to give you a smile whenever a camera's about to click.

  6. in my famille

    all they know is to open dia teeth

    you even have to tell them to close it small

    guess dem be models in my famille

    great pics

    even if everyone decided not to smile……….*wink*

  7. LOL

    I have the opposite effect with cameras. The sight one means: FLASH YOUR PEARLY WHITES (which actually aren't pearly white, but anyway…)

    Pictures of you nko??

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