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This project started while I was working in southern DRC. As part of a project, I went to multiple villages to take portrait pictures of some locals. I was surprised by the grave tone they would take when posing which did not reflect the friendly exchange we had had right before. I quickly realized the power of one word, “Kucheka”. After hearing it for the second time, they could not keep their serious face anymore, too surprised and amused by this stranger asking them to smile in their own language. Later I encountered the same reaction in other languages.

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