I have always felt a special motivation to share my vision of the world through photography, capturing the essence of the moment in a shot and painting different episodes of my life with light is the reason why today I want to share my story...

 

 

 

My name is Roberto Antonio Corona Contreras and from this moment, I open my heart and leave my fears behind to bare my soul and express my feelings freely.

 

I live my day to day life with a positive attitude, the smile I have on my face is notorious, I spontaneously look into people’s eyes when talking to them, maybe because I feel the need to connect with every person I find on my path, enriching my spirit with a smile, opening my heart to the world to share the happiness and the love that feeds my soul, this gives my life a purpose...

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Over a year ago I started a wonderful trip, with the initial aim of portraying anonymous people I encounter on my journey in order to represent the ethnic diversity and cultural richness of the 5 continents, apart from sharing a brief story behind each photo, which starts with the question... What is the reason for your smile?

 

After hundreds of portraits, I found the key to happiness in gratitude and through this I could understand my true purpose in life... to share a message of hope contained in the smiles that I collect on my travel route. Each portrait contains a story, each story a new reason to be happy...

a message that helps us to understand life as a gift and also to find the essence of our being, the real source of wealth... love, happiness and peace within us all, and that all it needs to grow and strengthen, is to be shared.

 

 

We are all capable of giving a smile, even the most humble people on earth can share a smile and enrich their soul as well as the souls of others.

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In 2004 I started a small business in the field of photography and audiovisual production in Iquique, northern Chile, I thought it was successful, because I undertook a lot of responsibilities and major projects, my company had consolidated and the team grew rapidly, I did not realize that in that moment I lost control of my life. I was so involved in my work that I did not allow time for my family, my friends, or even for myself... Then in March 2012, I was a victim of a big robbery that ended in a night with over 8 years of hard work and sacrifice. However, this was a lesson of strength which allowed me to open my eyes to what life is all about and gave me a new outlook on it ...

 

When I thought I had lost everything on that robbery,  I saw that there was still a camera in my office, which was the sign that made me think; "This is more than what I had when I first started and I still love what I do... so I can start again" Despite all the material things I lost, I recovered something more valuable... my time. So I wiped the slate clean and i broke free from anything that tied me down and prevented me from chasing my dreams. I had always wanted to discover the world but never had the time to do it, now it is time.

 

 

For a long time I asked myself existencial questions, such as where to find happiness and decided to start a long journey to find out, thinking maybe someone would have the answer ...

 

Since 2008, I have been an active member of Couchsurfing, a cultural-exchange community that connects you with people from the 5 continents.

I have hosted over 200 travelers who inspired me to believe in my dreams and have become great friends.

 

So after my life collapsed somehow, I had the opportunity to buy a half price ticket  to fly to New York and with very little money, I started this journey of personal discovery, never lacked a place to stay and always found a new friend, I realized I had a home in every corner of the world... this time I was the guest. I felt like I was reborn, I fall in love with life again... I recovered my sense of wonder, I felt like a kid again, my life was back on course.

After living in New York for almost three months, when there were a couple of weeks left before returning to Chile, I thought about all the good things that I had lived during that time, it seemed like a dream  from which I didn't want to wake up ... I didn't want to go back to reality, at least not the reality I had left behind ... I felt lost in the middle of Time Square, walking aimlessly around the big Apple, I realized as the accelerated pace of life, not allowed me to connect with people, I was invisible, I could disappear at that moment and no one would notice, I thought my life did not matter, that I was worthless... but I was wrong, there was a person who noticed my presence at that momente and he asked me:

 

Where do you come from?

I'm from Chile (I replied, thinking I had found a new friend ...)

And I saw a big smile that lit his face and said enthusiastically:

Chile! ... Wow, do you have a coin? 

I replied that I had no money and said I was sorry 

Then, he explained that he collects coins and he didn't have any from Chile ...

It was at that moment that I looked around and I realized we were in a lively place with people from all over the world, one of the most multicultural cities in our planet. Then I thought to myself ... I want to start my own collection!

 

A revelation came to my mind and wrote down "Collecting Smiles" on a white cardboard, and suddenly the accelerated pace of life in New York stopped for a second, just to give me a smile.

 

I asked hundreds of people on my way "What is the reason for your smile? what is the reason of your happiness?" Then I realized that no matter the circumstances of your environment,  cultural traditions, skincolor or the language you speak. A smile connects us all, unites us and becomes the universal language...

 

That was how my smiles collection began, every smile was a new reason to carry on with this project, and find my way, discovering that the key to happiness is gratitude.  Gratitude begins with a smile and when we are able to live day to day with a positive attitude, we will find in our being, an infinite source of love, peace and happiness, which grows each time we share it ...

This message must be heard, help us to spread this project to inspire others to appreciate life as a gift and find in gratitude the key to happiness :)
Perdido en Tel Aviv caminando de regreso a casa, pregunto en una pizzería al paso, cómo llegar a la