LA-based portrait photographer Lauren Randolph recently toured Peru on an 11-day-journey with one goal in mind – to make people smile. Randolph partnered with Contiki — a tour company for millennials — to create content for The Travel Project. The initiative “seeks to show how travel has the ability to create better humans”, which is just the sort of thing we can get behind.
Armed with her camera, Randolph traveled throughout Peru giving out compliments to strangers and capturing their responses. Naturally, she evoked some of the most genuine smiles, and sometimes blushes, from the locals, and was able to spread kindness and create connections on her trip instead of simply touring. Her trip and the portraits she took along the way set a shining backdrop for World Kindness Day (November 13), proving that a little kindness goes a long way.
The first thing I noticed was that everyone is smiling super hard in your photos! Did some of these smiles take work?
I just said, “You are beautiful’ or to men, “You are handsome,” and I think those are ones that obviously among many cultures those are things people like to hear, but I don’t think people hear them from strangers that often, or even from friends or loved ones that much. People should but I don’t think people just get random compliments out of nowhere that often, so I think that’s what brought these smiles out – I think it was kind of unexpected.
Yeah, it is pretty rare. Do you think just being free with compliments is rare, or do people make up for not giving compliments in other ways?
I think people are kind… but we live in such a world now where we’re so connected on the internet and on our phones but I think people are starting to miss human interaction, and especially from strangers. You talk to people you know, but people aren’t walking down the street and having conversations anymore. People aren’t stopping people on the street to say, “Hey! You’re beautiful,” or “Hey, I really like your music!” That kind of human engagement comes as a surprise and therefore, people are naturally feeling kind of bashful and that’s what I found: When I would give a compliment, people would kind of shy away from it, like, “Oh, no…thank you…” and that’s why I would ask to take their picture and I think that kind of human interaction is kind of a rare thing for people to experience.