Photos keep family memories alive

By Ma Chi(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2017-05-19 17:06:09

Locals at a village in Southwest China's Guizhou province play instruments when taking a family photo. [Photo/VCG]

Students are helping families pass down memories by taking free photos for villagers, the Guizhou Daily reported on Wednesday.

Since 2012, students from Guizhou Normal University in Southwest China have been taking free photos for people living in poverty-stricken villages.

One of the initiators of the campaign is Wang Bangbi. Wang was enrolled in the photography department of the school in 2009.

Children ham it up for the camera. [Photo/VCG]

Due to his family's financial difficulties, he was the last in his class to buy a camera.

"I realized later that my mother might have used money for her treatment to buy me a camera," he said. His mother died of disease in 2012. Wang regretted not taking a family photo when she was alive. That prompted him to consider taking photos for families living in poverty.

Wang and several other students decided to do it together. They chipped in to buy print paper and other photography equipment and also collected plastic bottles, old books and newspapers from student dormitories to raise money.

Some of the photos shot by the photography team. [Photo/VCG]

To save costs and not bother the locals, they stayed in tents in villages where they took the photos.

"Young women dressed themselves up, and the elderly and children put on traditional costumes before taking the photos," Wang said about their first shooting experience in a village in Liupanshui city.

They found many elderly did not know anything about photography and felt uneasy in front of the camera, not knowing where to place their hands.

A happy family snap. [Photo/VCG]

The locals' enthusiasm was very high and there were even people who traveled long distances from other villages to have their photos taken.

Back at the school, the initiative was applauded by many and drew more student volunteers. After Wang and other founders of the photography team graduated, new faces took their place to keep shooting for those in need.

In the following years, team members have taken photos of nearly 5,000 families in 16 impoverished villages in the province.

Children gather for a photo. [Photo/VCG]

"I once met an old veteran who was in his 90s. When we proposed taking his photo, he burst into tears," Zheng Xiaoyu, one of the student photographers, recalled. The old man said that if only he could take a photo with his former comrades-in-arms.

"I never expected a photo could be so important to them," Zheng said.

The students captured farmers at work in the field. [Photo/VCG]

Student photographers carry their gear to a village to shoot free photos for people living in poverty. [Photo/VCG]

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