40 Captivating Photos That Depict Human Emotion


Though we differ in the way we look and things we believe in, there’s something we all share: emotion. Human emotion is innate in all of us; it’s something we’re born with and something we die with. Happiness, sadness, love, hatred, worries, and indifference – these are things that constantly occur in our daily lives.

Today we share with you 40 powerful depictions of the human emotion. In these photos you’ll see celebrations, sadness in defeat, raw anger, and everything else in between that makes us what we are… human.

Captivating Photos that Depict Human Emotion Link


Laugh Air plane.2


Laugh with Red Hood.4


Paulina screen shot.

Michelle Black6


Loise Lane8

White dove9

Antonio Gabriele6410

dreams...of dreams...of dreams...11

Painting in shadows12

Painting in shadows - favorite game.13



Salomé G.4016

Don't Fence Me In17

Brett Walker18

Man with Smerk.19

Eric Lafforgue605620

Chimbu Dead Man.21

Sandra Torralba22

Wrong Makeup.23

Nirrimi Joy24

Freckles like stars.25

kelly c5826

tommy & jackson.27

Brett Walker28

Old Guy.29

P.S. Zollo6230

Bud in September.31

Martin Gommel32


Ricardo Liberato34

I'm Feeling Angry Today35

Jelena Balic36




Salomé G.4016

No title.41


feel free and cry.43


Consider me dead.45

Dar’ya Sipyeykina46

Warm Memories. . .47

Leroy Skalstad5448

Young Homeless Couple.49


Tears and doubts.51


I Can't Shake You.53

Leroy Skalstad5448


Eric Lafforgue605620

Sudanese face.57

kelly c5826


Eric Lafforgue605620

Tired dancer.61

P.S. Zollo6230

Jane Among The Ruins.63

Antonio Gabriele6410

light breaks where no sun shines.65

Piers Nye66







CrY and SmiLE.73



Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://lluvia.deviantart.com/
  2. 2 http://lluvia.deviantart.com/art/Laugh-42555319
  3. 3 http://cassetteject.deviantart.com/
  4. 4 http://cassetteject.deviantart.com/art/Laugh-66816171
  5. 5 http://peempek.deviantart.com/
  6. 6 http://www.flickr.com/people/ursylla/
  7. 7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ursylla/808092229/
  8. 8 http://www.flickr.com/photos/malish/
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/malish/235216474/in/pool-bestofhumanemotion
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/people/aboutdesouffle/
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aboutdesouffle/405727863/
  12. 12 http://vladimirborowicz.deviantart.com/
  13. 13 http://vladimirborowicz.deviantart.com/art/My-favourite-game-53361696
  14. 14 http://ssuunnddeeww.deviantart.com/
  15. 15 http://ssuunnddeeww.deviantart.com/art/8past8-55437635
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/people/vorfas/
  17. 17 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vorfas/390765299/
  18. 18 http://www.flickr.com/people/brettwalker/
  19. 19 http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettwalker/163692401/
  20. 20 http://www.flickr.com/people/mytripsmypics/
  21. 21 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/1558866868/
  22. 22 http://www.flickr.com/people/sandratorralba/
  23. 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandratorralba/1451819805/
  24. 24 http://pretty-as-a-picture.deviantart.com/
  25. 25 http://pretty-as-a-picture.deviantart.com/art/freckles-like-stars-89379060
  26. 26 http://www.flickr.com/people/kelco/
  27. 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kelco/1961763491/
  28. 28 http://www.flickr.com/people/brettwalker/
  29. 29 http://www.flickr.com/photos/brettwalker/228541054/
  30. 30 http://www.flickr.com/people/zollo/
  31. 31 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zollo/1438614834/
  32. 32 http://kwerfeldein.deviantart.com/
  33. 33 http://kwerfeldein.deviantart.com/art/Anger-102986132
  34. 34 http://www.flickr.com/people/liberato/
  35. 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/liberato/2915235479/
  36. 36 http://esens.deviantart.com/
  37. 37 http://esens.deviantart.com/art/Scream-60887321
  38. 38 http://calvinhollywood.deviantart.com/
  39. 39 http://calvinhollywood.deviantart.com/art/THE-SCREAM-50424023
  40. 40 http://www.flickr.com/people/vorfas/
  41. 41 http://calvinhollywood.deviantart.com/art/THE-SCREAM-50424023
  42. 42 http://chillersbike.deviantart.com/
  43. 43 http://chillersbike.deviantart.com/art/feel-free-and-cry-90813937
  44. 44 http://redfraction.deviantart.com/
  45. 45 http://redfraction.deviantart.com/art/Consider-me-dead-73265320
  46. 46 http://www.flickr.com/people/chant3/
  47. 47 http://www.flickr.com/photos/chant3/3224706144/
  48. 48 http://www.flickr.com/people/wd9hot/
  49. 49 http://www.flickr.com/photos/wd9hot/475295701/
  50. 50 http://www.flickr.com/people/all_the_names_are_already_taken_pfff/
  51. 51 http://www.flickr.com/photos/all_the_names_are_already_taken_pfff/135624379/
  52. 52 http://www.flickr.com/people/nicktoday/
  53. 53 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicktoday/2831259995/
  54. 54 http://www.flickr.com/people/wd9hot/
  55. 55 http://www.flickr.com/photos/wd9hot/2528736855/
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/people/mytripsmypics/
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/1014810155/
  58. 58 http://www.flickr.com/people/kelco/
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/kelco/2152042633/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/people/mytripsmypics/
  61. 61 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytripsmypics/207877955/
  62. 62 http://www.flickr.com/people/zollo/
  63. 63 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zollo/1347765836/
  64. 64 http://www.flickr.com/people/aboutdesouffle/
  65. 65 http://www.flickr.com/photos/aboutdesouffle/222039056/in/pool-bestofhumanemotion
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/people/21204781@N07/
  67. 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/21204781@N07/2501994750/
  68. 68 http://godinc.deviantart.com/
  69. 69 http://godinc.deviantart.com/art/cry-110306779
  70. 70 http://oksanax.deviantart.com/
  71. 71 http://oksanax.deviantart.com/art/Cry-46431774
  72. 72 http://taykut.deviantart.com/
  73. 73 http://taykut.deviantart.com/art/CrY-and-SmiLE-69267681
  74. 74 http://fatigued.deviantart.com/
  75. 75 http://fatigued.deviantart.com/art/cry-92182490
  76. 76 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/18/the-beauty-of-urban-decay/
  77. 77 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/02/01/35-examples-of-beautiful-city-photography/
  78. 78 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/01/showcase-of-beautiful-shadow-photography/

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Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a web publication for web developers and designers, and the Deputy Editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers and digital artists. He has over seven years of experience as professional web developer and web designer and has written a book on JavaScript.

  1. 1

    Cool pictures, but honestly a little too artsy. I’d rather see some simple, raw, unpolished pictures of emotion. I think that would get the point across better.

  2. 2

    Great idea for a post but I also agree with John. Simple, real, honest pictures of human emotion mean more to me.

    To the haters of SM, chill out or make your own blog that does a better job. The photogaphy and typography posts are not inherently “useless” just because they didn’t give you free icons or baby you through ajax…

  3. 3

    Matt Litherland

    April 14, 2009 3:21 am

    Ooo Comment N0.1!

    some really nice photos here! Keep up the good work!

  4. 4

    I don’t know how you do it. resource after resource – just awesome. Thanks guys!

  5. 5

    I don’t know how you guys do it. Resource after awesome resource. Thanks guys!

  6. 6


  7. 7

    GIRUGAMESH is my favourite. :3

  8. 8

    A.B.C. Photography

    April 14, 2009 4:22 am

    I can add one more :-)

  9. 9

    Maximum pics in dis category are mindblowing.. bt sm are not that good

  10. 10

    awesome!… amazing collection…

  11. 11

    Brett Walker and Catherine are fav’d here. Actually interesting to see such an article because the expression of human emotion on work seen today can be of high value.

  12. 12

    I agree with most of the other comments made, the photos aren’t really breathtaking. The just good photos, i don’t see true emotion i can see some make a face that looks angry or sad but i don’t feel that. The images are a let down after reading the title.

  13. 13

    Great images.

  14. 14

    Great collection

  15. 15

    I agree with John. A lot of these are quite the opposite of the point of the piece, and don’t show ANY emotion. Antonio Gabriele’s image is almost comedic in its clumsy use of composition, and shows a lack of emotion from both the subject and the artist that is quite extraordinary.

  16. 16


    April 14, 2009 5:12 am

    Great photos

  17. 17

    Lucky 11 Studios

    April 14, 2009 5:47 am

    Decent. But honestly, there are some really cheesy shots in this list. Like CHEESE-wait for it- EEEEYYYYY.

    But overall, you guys do some great work.

  18. 18

    отличная подборка!

  19. 19

    I just couldn’t help myself from saying “WOW”. Photographers are true innovators!

  20. 20

    Vast majority of these photos are amazing. I don’t know a great deal about photography but I paused to look a few of these photos for quite a while. Thanks

  21. 21

    To be honest – it’s just a collection of images! The standard of Smashing! articles is really dropping!

  22. 22

    A good collection on the whole,..but aren’t some professional model jobs ? It’s unprepared
    raw images that would expose the real human in us.

  23. 23

    I also agree with John. Many of these images don’t ring true.

  24. 24

    really nice view to say emotions

  25. 25

    bah, smashing mag creeping ever further downhill.

    This used to be a web design blog, not a glorified flickr group.

    1/10, these wouldn’t help a bit with any of my current or previous web projects.

  26. 26

    Great collection.

  27. 27
  28. 28

    What’s the point ? Yes, photo is cool, but if I want such a collection, I went on Flickr. Please, stop those useless listings and keep on less but better articles like recent ones. You’re so accurate on subjects that really relate to web design.

  29. 29

    This site is not all about web design dude, photography is a great skill and a huge part of any kind of design, im sure you hate Typography too? Maybe “they are so accurate” because thats ALL you know about.

    Keep it up smashing

  30. 30

    I like this kind of articles. I really don’t know about thos who complain, but watching some pretty images before working really gives some inspiration. As my Art teacher said, “you always need to see pretty stuff. Always”. Perhaps you only want to watch web designs because that’s more easy to get “inspired” by them? Look inspiration everywhere, people.

    BTW, the “old people” photos are my favourite. All of them. There is something about their eyes, like they know every secret of the world. They probably do.

  31. 31

    utterly beautiful….I want to buy prints!!!

  32. 32


  33. 33

    Seems black and white is a tool of choice. As in the past with non digital manipulated photography.

  34. 34
  35. 35

    Boring. Since when has this become a photography site?? At least relate it web design some how.

  36. 36

    Some of these were really great and some really did not belong in the list at all as their quality in contrast to the others just did not compare. Overall I have to say though these were mind blowing and some of them are very much so photo journalistic quality!!! ~ Jordan Dossett.

  37. 37

    I was captivated by the photo of the grandfather or father holding his son; they have the same expression and look alike, it brought me into their world.

    I take shots of nature, but I would like to graduate to humans soon

    keep up the good work!

  38. 38


    April 14, 2009 3:09 pm

    Nice images! Posts like this make me want to get out my camera and play around with it a bit.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I got the impression that Smashing Magazine is a DESIGN site, not strictly devoted to the web. Therefore, photography inspiration has its place here just as much as a showcase of websites. Not to mention photography can be a large part of web design. Where do you think all those stock images you use came from?

  39. 39

    I again agree with the sentiments of John, however for all those whining that they thought this was a web design blog and who seem to be offended that this article has been added, why click on the link to this page???

    Its like saying oh look Football is on Channel 3 I think I’ll turn over and watch it although I have no interest in it and them complain how I didn’t enjoy it….get a life.

  40. 40

    Caroline Schnapp

    April 14, 2009 3:40 pm

    Dave (post 36), eat my pussy.

    Many of the pictures are ‘pretty’, but I’ve not seen many that convey real emotion, however subtle, except the one used in the teaser (Catherine), the ones by Eric Lafforgue… and some toward the end, but then these ‘tearful’ ones felt exploitative and just didn’t touch me.

  41. 41

    here is the right link to the “angry stanic” portrait :

    Angry Satanic by Salomé G..

    Great collection though :-)

  42. 42

    some pictures are really good. Nice colection :)

  43. 43

    Anish Bhattarai

    April 14, 2009 5:55 pm

    Nice collection

  44. 44

    Dave (post 36) and Caroline (post 42).
    Get a room

  45. 45

    Nice collection

  46. 46

    LMFAO @ John (post 45). You damn well beat me to it haha.

    If people have a problem with the photography posts… what the hell is wrong with skipping them. Read your damn web design articles and continue to remain ignorant. I for one will take full advantage of whatever articles Smashing has to offer me.

  47. 47


  48. 48

    catherine photo is very touchy !!
    CEO Eatables.in
    Hyd INDIA

  49. 49

    Fantastic collection. My favorite from here is gun ( No.8 )… I always hope to see some pictures of Réka Valkai in such collenctions/troundups like her http://justelse.deviantart.com/art/The-Story-93167159 … I just love that photo. I only can hope that more and more people will stumble upon her work.

  50. 50

    absolutelyy beautiful..the pics are so captivating n realistic..emotions r soo real..thnks for sharing..!


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