Yin Qixiang and his wife, Si Meixiu, pose for a wedding photo taken by students from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Jiangsu province.(Photo prvided to China Daily)
A wedding photo of Shi Youhe and his wife, Wang Xiuming, taken by the college students.(Photo provided to China Daily)
Wedding photos of happily married couples show value of love
When 69-year-old Shi Youhe saw his wife of 43 years wearing her wedding dress and holding a bridal bouquet, he could not help but cry.
"I'll be with you for the rest of my life," he said as he presented her with the flowers, dressed in a white suit.
The couple, from Nanjing in Jiangsu province, were realizing a decadeslong dream. They were finally having their wedding photos taken.
Shi, a retired military officer, was absent from the ceremony in which he and Wang Xiuming, now 68, were wed. He was on a tour of duty in neighboring Anhui province at the time.
Wang was left holding a rooster - a local tradition for women getting married to an absent husband.
"I feel sorry for my wife," Shi said. "She has led a hard life and took care of all the family while I was far away from home."
Besides their wedding, Shi also missed the birth of their first child. He did not even meet his daughter until she was 4 years old.
Wang would often write to her husband, promising to take good care of both their child and his parents. Whenever he recalls those letters, Shi has tears in his eyes.
Yin Yong, a student from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said he and his peers offered to take Shi and Wang's photos to remind the youth of today how precious love is.
The couple were among four who had their wedding photos taken by the college students for free during summer break.
"Wedding photos are a way for married couples to record their love," Yin said. "But many seniors don't have any because they couldn't afford to, or for other reasons.
"We noticed that divorce rates are rising rapidly in China, and domestic violence cases are also reported from time to time. We wanted more people to remember the beauty of love and the feeling of being loved by taking pictures of these happily married people."
The students selected the four couples they photographed on the recommendations of schoolmates, relatives and other couples in Nanjing.
They bought wedding dresses and suits for each of them and went to their homes to take their pictures, as some were over 80 years old.
Yin said some of the husbands and wives looked a little shy when dressed in their new outfits. They checked themselves in front of mirrors several times before being photographed and held each other tightly during the photo shoot.
"It was hot when we took the pictures," Yin said. "But the men would wipe their wives' brows before their own. There are so many little details like this that show the love between them."
He said the aim of the photographs is to teach young people the value of a healthy, loving relationship.
"That is the kind of love I want to have," Yin added.