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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.


Laugh with Red Hood.


Paulina screen shot.

Michelle Black


Loise Lane

White dove

Antonio Gabriele

dreams...of dreams...of dreams...

Painting in shadows

Painting in shadows - favorite game.



Salomé G.

Don't Fence Me In

Brett Walker

Man with Smerk.

Eric Lafforgue

Chimbu Dead Man.

Sandra Torralba

Wrong Makeup.

Nirrimi Joy

Freckles like stars.

kelly c

tommy & jackson.

Brett Walker

Old Guy.

P.S. Zollo

Bud in September.

Martin Gommel


Ricardo Liberato

I'm Feeling Angry Today

Jelena Balic




Salomé G.

No title.


feel free and cry.


Consider me dead.

Dar’ya Sipyeykina

Warm Memories. . .

Leroy Skalstad

Young Homeless Couple.


Tears and doubts.


I Can't Shake You.

Leroy Skalstad


Eric Lafforgue

Sudanese face.

kelly c


Eric Lafforgue

Tired dancer.

P.S. Zollo

Jane Among The Ruins.

Antonio Gabriele

light breaks where no sun shines.

Piers Nye







CrY and SmiLE.


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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

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

    Angry Satanic by Salomé G..

    Great collection though :-)

  26. 26

    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.

  27. 27

    Great collection.

  28. 28
  29. 29

    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.

  30. 30

    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


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