The Meaning of a Smile

This visual piece serves to represent what a smile means to a diverse group of people. The goal of this creative project was to spark conversations that help promote confidence and positivity surrounding oral health. The data for this project has been generated through interviews. Narrative statements from the interviews were connected to up close images of the participants’ smiles. By displaying a diverse group of smiles and perspectives, I aim to spark a change in the way people view their smiles for the better.

  • Visual Art
  • The purpose of this presentation is to reflect and share the outcomes of a creative project that explored the meaning of a smile among a diverse population of people.

  • Arts, Sociology, Anthropology

12 thoughts on “The Meaning of a Smile”

  1. Thank you, Zoe. I will try your suggestion for the compliment–it’s a good one. I may not be a natural smiler, but I have found that a broad smile can help while traveling in foreign countries, for example, or starting a presentation at a conference! People definitely like to see other people smiling. Thanks for your presentation!

  2. I really related to this video! What a great contrast between the physical smile and the reason behind it. I love that you left off on a note to compliment others. Thank you for sharing!

  3. That was neat of you to put a twist on the body positivity movement. I really loved the topic! It would be neat to add the survey data of what recruits thought of a smile.

  4. Thank you so much for this presentation! I am always critical of my smile, but you reminded me how important it is to let myself be happy in the moment instead of thinking negatively about my appearance. I love it most when someone smiles so much that their whole face lights up with joy.

  5. I thought your visual was amazingly done! As a graphic designer in training, the design aspects and use of Adobe photoshop is well polished yet stylized in your own unique manner.

  6. This was really thought-provoking; thank you. When I first clicked on the link, I was expecting something about our natural tendency to smile when others smile, etc. What’s funny is that I immediately became a little self-conscious about my own smile… even though I’m sitting here by myself in front of a computer. I wondered, “Would I want someone to take a photo of *my* smile? Is there anything stuck in my teeth? Are they white enough?”

    It was interesting, therefore, to discover that you were pushing us to think about some related kinds of issues. I’d be curious to know: is there any reliable data out there concerning the percentage of people who like their own smiles, or are self-conscious about them?

  7. This was engaging, fun, and oh, so timely. You remind us that regardless of the aesthetics of a smile, the heartfelt beauty behind it can make any human connection an intimate one, even despite the requirements of social distancing!
    Thanks!

  8. Tiffany Nascimento

    This is a beautiful visual. I love the creativity behind your presentation. Our culture has had an upswing in promoting body positivity over the past few years, but so often the focus is only on weight, curves, etc. I like that you took the time to acknowledge one of the most beautiful physical features. Personally, I love witnessing the ephemeral nature of a genuine smile. These smiles are prompted by the moment. They come naturally through things like laughter, pride or happiness. I really appreciated this presentation! Thanks!

  9. I really like your use of color only on the teeth made of the smile, it really brings them out. It’s true that the spread of “smile positivity” is not nearly as wide as body positivity, some people are very self-conscious about their smile. Thank you for your presentation! They say that you can tell a lot about your inner health from your mouth!

  10. I love the diversity, not only of the angles used with the faces, but with the genders and ethnicities you used. I think the color really pops and even though you have all these different skin tones, since the background is black and white there really is a “global comradery” imagery here as well! Well done!

  11. This was such a lovely presentation! In a world where we are exposed to so much media showing us the “normal” or “good” way for something to look, it can be easy to allow such habits to control your view of others. No one should have to feel insecure about their smile – a sign of their happiness. I love that you chose to draw attention to this. It was executed brilliantly!

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