More than 400 college students take wedding photos for the elderly in mountainous areas in 8-year relay

  Long-distance Love in 50,000 Photos

  92-year-old Zou Shihuai and 85-year-old Zhao Yuee finally took their first special "wedding photo" last summer.

It is special because my wife is very old and her legs and feet are inconvenient, so she really can't wear the wedding dress prepared in advance.

  "Grandpa and grandma, smile, 3-2-1!" In a simple house in Xiangshao Village, Shaoshan, Hunan, Zou Shihuai, a veteran of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, was wearing an old-fashioned military uniform, wearing two third-class merit medals and "glory in the 50 years of the party" "The commemorative medal, nestled next to his wife Zhao Yue'e.

  This couple who have been together for more than 70 years, in front of the temporary red cloth background, showed their broken teeth and smiled brightly. The wrinkled and swollen hands of the couple were always tightly held together.

  The "photographer" behind the camera, Chen Jiali, a college student born in 2000, was very touched. "The smiles of grandparents touched everyone present. Love in old age should not be forgotten."

  This photography team is from the "Dream Plan" public welfare practice team spontaneously organized by teachers and students of Wuhan Institute of Engineering Science and Technology. It has become known to more and more people because it was selected as the "Wuhan Model" just announced.

  Since 2015, every winter and summer vacation, the team will bring their own clothing and photographic equipment, go to rural areas, communities, and nursing homes to take a set of wedding photos for elderly couples, and then print and frame the photos one by one, and donate them to the elderly for free. Started a relay race that chronicled thousands of long-distance love stories.

Freeze the years that should not be forgotten

  Yu Jinwen, a post-85 young teacher, is the founder of the "Dream Realization Project".

When Yu Jinwen was in college in 2010, his grandfather passed away.

After the old man passed away, the family searched everywhere but could not find a decent photo.

In desperation, the family could only "P" the photo on the ID card into a portrait.

  This has become a regret buried in Yu Jinwen's heart for a long time.

  In 2014, when "Teacher Xiaoyu", who became a university counselor, led students to apply for volunteer service projects, the first thought that popped into his mind was to take a "decent photo" for the elderly for free.

  When many old people were young, due to limited conditions, they did not have the opportunity to take a good photo when they got married.

From black and white to color, from simple to exquisite, the times have progressed, but their youth is gone forever.

Yu Jinwen thought, "A photo may not be able to retain anything, but at least it can freeze the years that should not be forgotten."

  Wedding dresses and photographic equipment were once the "biggest headache" for the team.

  At that time, it happened that Yu Jinwen’s old classmate opened a wedding photography company in Wuhan. Due to business transformation, they donated more than 70 sets of second-hand wedding dresses to them for free.

I didn’t know photography skills, so I tried to get experienced students to train after class; the funds for the activities were insufficient, so I opened a “flea market” in June of that year, selling idle clothes, skin care products, and postgraduate entrance examination materials at low prices...

  In this way, the 27-year-old "Teacher Xiaoyu" led 15 students in his class to form the first "Dream Realization Project" team.

  When the love stories that have gone through time one after another really appeared in front of their eyes, the post-95s and post-00s college students who participated in them saw the difference between love and film and television dramas, novels, and even the experiences of their peers around them.

  "My family used to be poor, and I couldn't bear to take photos that cost 40 cents a piece when I got married." Ren Jinyu and Li Zhenrong joined hands more than half a century ago.

At that time, Ren Jinyu was a railway soldier.

A letter from home for several months is the only way for the newlyweds to communicate, and it has also become the spiritual motivation for Ren Jinyu to persevere in the Heilongjiang Railway Team at minus 40 degrees Celsius.

  After 55 years of marriage, Ren Jinyu and Li Zhenrong have been looking forward to having a real wedding photo.

  In July 2022, the "Dream Realization Project" team went to Pingshan County, Hebei Province to take wedding photos for the two elderly people.

In the camera, Li Zhenrong is wearing a red wedding dress, smiling like a flower.

Ren Jinyu held his wife's left arm, and saluted the camera with his bent right hand.

At that moment, the gears of time seemed to return to the spring of 1968.

  When Zhao Xinguo and Li Luanjiao from Huangmei, Hubei Province got married in 1974, two catties of candy were all the bride price.

  During the summer practice in 2019, as soon as Zhang Tao, then the captain of the Huangmei team, entered Zhao Xinguo, he saw physiotherapy beds, oxygen machines, blood pressure monitors, wheelchairs, and stacks of A4 papers filled with Li Luanjiao's various physical indicators. .

It turned out that in 1984, Li Luanjiao suffered from rheumatoid due to fatigue, and unfortunately suffered a stroke later.

  After understanding the situation, a dozen or so members of the team always wanted to do something more.

The props team tidied up the clothes, the photography team adjusted the scenery, the make-up team cleansed and retouched the old man’s face, and the text team interviewed and recorded it... It seemed that what was presented was just a set of photos, and everyone behind the scene had been busy all morning.

  More than ten days later, the school office of Wuhan Institute of Engineering and Technology received a letter of thanks from the Civil Affairs Bureau of Huangmei County, Huanggang City, Hubei Province.

Zhao Xinguo specifically wrote in the letter: "(They) took great care, took good care of them, wiped their sweat and combed their hair, which moved my wife to tears."

College students understand what is meant by "Forever and Forever"

  2022 is the fifth year that Chen Zhengran has accompanied the "Dream Realization Project".

After graduating from college, he still misses the team.

He said that the "Dream Realization Project" not only fulfilled the dreams of the elderly, but also allowed young college students to see "love that lasts forever."

  Captain Li Liyue noticed in his daily life that many students around him felt confused about the intimate relationship between lovers.

  Some people are eager to get out of the order, so they blindly follow the trend on social software and post a "confession wall", and later find that the love maintained by the novelty is "fleeting"; That is, the "curse" of "breaking up"; some people are addicted to the "love chicken soup" in idol dramas, spending tens of thousands of yuan to pay for each other, and regard love as investment and showing off...In all kinds of worlds, many young people can't find love. to their own harbor.

  The scene seen in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi in the summer of 2021 will never be forgotten by Zhuang Mengyue, a member of the practice team.

  An old man is old and cannot stand for a long time.

Although the students tried their best to compress the time and speed up the progress, the old man could not hide his physical exhaustion.

Zhuang Mengyue felt that grandpa was already very uncomfortable.

The wife on the side asked, "Are you still able to stand?" Grandpa waved his hand and said with a smile, "Don't worry, I still have the strength to take pictures with you."

  Zhuang Mengyue found that many students around her treat love "like playing a game, always looking forward to the next level."

Witnessing a love story that lasted half a century, she feels that some happiness is short-lived after all, and it is better to cultivate a "slower" relationship. Maybe it is "more meaningful happiness" if two people walk together for a long time.

  When the time scale is stretched to 40, 50, or even 70 years, this group of young people saw that "it's true to be ordinary", and also understood that "travel and horses used to be slow, and there was only enough to love one person in a lifetime".

  In 1957, the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge was completed and opened to traffic.

Li Hongzhu, who was in his early 20s, was the first batch of captains of steamships under the bridge.

It was also in that year that he and his wife Xiong Sangu fell in love at first sight and entered the marriage hall.

  "I'm happiest when I met her on the Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan." Li Hongzhu said while looking at his wife who was putting on make-up, her eyes lingering.

  After Sangu Xiong changed into her wedding dress, Li Hongzhu smiled like a child and said, "It looks good, it looks good!"

Witness love and find a life partner

  The 25-year-old "Old Captain" Geng Yuanping found his love here.

  In the summer of 2018, Geng Yuanping and Lu Yao were both members of the "Dream Realization Project" and went to Xianning and Huanggang in Hubei to take pictures for the elderly.

They got to know each other and fell in love in practice, and also found each other's "compatibility in love concept".

  Geng Yuanping clearly remembers that when he went to the countryside to take pictures 4 years ago, an old woman rode a scooter to pick up her wife who was busy in the farmland.

At first, Grandpa was a little bit offended, "The work in the field is so busy, why did you call me back?"

  After understanding the reason for the children's visit, although Grandpa said he didn't care, he couldn't hide his excitement.

In front of the camera, the two old men stared at each other with tears in the corners of their eyes.

Geng Yuanping still remembers that after the shooting was completed, his grandfather held the photo tightly in both hands and looked at it for a long time.

  Geng Yuanping said that the old couple turned their ordinary life into an ideal one.

This gave him and Lu Yao a longing for love.

They understand that moving from "love" to "family" requires not only vigorous vows, but also mutual devotion, tolerance and trust.

  On August 20, 2022, the young couple, who had been in love for five years, made a "deliberate decision of two adults"-formal engagement, ready to enter the palace of marriage.

Their declaration of love is "starting with a heartbeat and ending with a white head".

  Hu Hao was the captain of Geng Yuanping's last term. He and his wife also met because of the "Dream Realization Project".

In their previous life planning, they never thought of getting married at the age of less than 30.

  Hu Hao said that it was in the process of witnessing love in old age that he gained the courage to love, "When you meet the right person, you have to go on bravely."

In July 2022, they officially got married.

  See love, but also see life in love.

  Chen Ziye, a third-year student, once felt that when he grew up, he always had some estrangement from the family relationship between generations.

It wasn't until the summer vacation of 2022 that Chen Ziye and the members of the Jiangxi Jiujiang team of the "Dream Realization Project" took pictures of their first wedding photos for his grandparents and grandparents, and then he had a different understanding.

  During the conversation, Chen Ziye learned for the first time that his grandfather made a promise when his grandmother was sick more than ten years ago, "I am willing to transplant my organs to you, even if I lose ten years of life"; , went to Shanghai for treatment three times, and overcame the test of disease with "unbelief in evil".

  She felt that the love and life of her elders gradually began to integrate into her own life.

  The "elderly love story" in the camera is not always happy, and there are also unspeakable tears.

  During the summer vacation of 2022, members of the Shaoshan Team of the "Dream Realization Project" drove through mountain villages with the help of the Shaoshan Youth League Committee and the Azalea Volunteer Association.

  When they came to the home of Liu Deming and Shen Ailan, most of these college students who grew up in the city were shocked by the scene in front of them: This is a "papa house" built on the mountainside, and the dark green wooden windows have long been missing. For the most part, two wooden boards and a few wooden sticks were used to make up two layers, and the mottled red bricks were stacked layer by layer, which was not neatly built.

Seeing the children coming, 88-year-old Liu Deming sat in the weedy yard, smiling quietly.

  Liu Deming is a veteran who retired from the battlefield of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.

Due to injuries on the battlefield, coupled with his advanced age, his mind has been blurred, and his language communication is no longer smooth.

Shen Ailan said that over the past few decades, he has gradually forgotten many things, but the only constant is his love to laugh.

"He likes a lot of people, and he is very happy to see a lot of people."

  In 1959, after Liu Deming retired from the army, he was introduced by a matchmaker and met Shen Ailan.

Liu Deming is 7 years older than Shen Ailan. He was afraid that Shen Ailan would dislike him. During the blind date, he deliberately said that he was 4 years younger.

Shen Ailan recalled: "Our love is very simple, as long as the parents say yes."

  At that time, the financial conditions of the family were not good, and there was only a dowry gift of 24 yuan. "It was a problem to have enough food."

After marriage, Liu Deming beats rice, grinds noodles, and plucks cotton at the agricultural machinery station, while Shen Ailan farms at home.

The two have been together for 63 years.

  In front of the camera, Liu Deming put on a brand new military uniform and wore a faded military medal.

Shen Ailan was wearing a Xiuhe dress with phoenix embroidered on the chest and a bridal headgear, tears streaming down her wrinkled eyes unconsciously.

And Liu Deming beside him kept smiling.

  In Shaoshan in July, the average daytime temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius.

At the end of more than ten days of filming, "everyone in the practice team was blacked out", but they recognized that this was a "significant" event, and no one was tired.

  Watching the scene of the two elderly people taking their wedding photos, Li Fei, standing behind the camera, "almost couldn't hold back her tears."

  In the memory of Li Fei, a college student born in the 2000s, she has rarely come into contact with couples who have been together for decades.

She has noticed that many young people encounter a little "little wind and waves" in love, life or study, and they always like to complain about "I will never love again", and I have had such thoughts myself.

  In the two years since joining the team, Li Fei has seen many "senior loves" that she has never seen before. In those days, they persisted and lived with an almost obsessive love.

  Li Fei began to "believe in love".

She feels that people who truly love each other will never be separated because of "little wind and waves".

"Dream Project" team a relay of love

  If love is a "long-distance race for a lifetime", in the past 8 years, this team has run a relay about love stories in a simple way.

  Since its establishment in 2015, the "Dream Realization Project" team has taken more than 50,000 photos, taken wedding photos and personal art photos for more than 1,400 elderly people, fulfilled the wedding dreams of more than 650 elderly couples, and held 5 wedding dresses The photography exhibition records and compiles the love stories of nearly 1,000 elderly people.

  When it was first established, the "Dream Project" was just a small team of a dozen people. Now it has 10 teams with more than 400 members, and the total volunteer service time exceeds 80,000 hours.

In the past 8 years, the team has carried out activities in 30 regions across the country, including Wuhan, Hong'an, Jingdezhen, Chongqing, Linzhou, and Yichang.

  This group of young people not only "learned love" from the old people, but also "learned a life of struggle".

  On July 16, 2021, members of the Jiangxi Jingdezhen team of the "Dream Realization Project" took a "wedding photo" in which only one person appeared.

  The subject of this photo is 91-year-old Yu Ermei, who has a more familiar title-"Grandma of Porcelain Palace".

Yu Ermei lost her father when she was young. She learned how to make ceramics with her uncle since she was 12 years old. From then on, she started her 80-year career in ceramics.

The 72 porcelain-making processes are clear in the chest. In 1988, she took the initiative to "lay off her job" to build a factory and start a business. She created the "Kowloon Naohai" giant pottery bowl and set a Guinness World Record... The first half of her life was magnificent enough.

  In 2010, 80-year-old Yu Ermei made a decision that surprised everyone around her at the age when she was supposed to take care of herself. She wanted to build a "porcelain house" in Jingdezhen that belonged to the city.

  With a net worth of tens of millions, spent all her life savings, and owed hundreds of thousands of yuan in debt; in order to save money, she never wore clothes that cost more than 50 yuan, and often used instant noodles worth 1.5 yuan to satisfy her hunger.

  When the "Porcelain Palace" was first built, it cost 2 million yuan to hire a designer, but Yu Ermei thought it was not worth it.

So, without a primary school diploma, she went to a printing shop and spent 20 yuan to print a picture of the Fujian Tulou building.

She lives alone in the hut, supervises the work herself, and guides the workers while deliberating.

There is no water or electricity in the hut. When I go to bed at night, I cover my face with a washcloth. When I wake up in the morning, there are mosquitoes all over the washcloth.

  In order to create a "museum" look, she also used up more than 60,000 pieces of porcelain in her lifetime collection, smashed 80 tons of broken porcelain pieces, and embedded them in the wall one by one.

  Five years later, the first circular palace "Porcelain Palace" was born in Xinping Village, Fuliang County, Jingdezhen.

This private palace, which costs 60 million yuan, accommodates more than 60,000 pieces of collections, and accommodates various ceramics on the upper and lower floors, has also been rated as a 2A-level tourist attraction.

  Chen Zhengran, the head of the team at the time, introduced that everyone was deeply shocked after seeing Yu Ermei's deeds on the short video platform. They happened to be going to Jingdezhen to carry out activities, so they planned to take a special "wedding photo" for her.

  Yu Ermei's dream-chasing story is not over. Her ultimate dream is to build six palaces in "three circles and three directions".

She said to these young college students, "If Lord Yan wants to see me, I will finish the (Porcelain Palace) before going. Nothing (difficulties) can stop me from what I want to do."

  "Regardless of what others say, regardless of dissuasion, in the name of faith, build a palace of meaning," they left such a sigh in the documentary filmed by the team.

Liu Mengting, a member of the practice team, wrote in her work diary, "'Grandma Porcelain Palace' has a stooped body and a stalwart figure with a persistent dream. We young flowers have no reason not to work hard!"

  In the camera, Yu Ermei is dressed in Xiuhe clothes, holding a round fan, standing upright in front of the majestic porcelain palace, and it is completely impossible to see that she is an old man with a back.

There is a smile flowing in her deep sunken eyes, and her thin body is more upright under the giant plaque of "Millennium Porcelain Palace Wannian Zang".

She said that she had never put on makeup in her life, nor had she worn such beautiful clothes to take pictures, and she was very excited.

  Wangjialing Village is a "Shangougou Village" in Zigui County, Yichang City, Hubei Province. It is located in the Xiling Gorge section, which is the most dangerous part of the Three Gorges.

In the summer of 2021, the practice team came to Wangjialing and listened to the 73-year-old party secretary Tan Guangjun talk about the transformation from "poor mountain ditch" to "100 million yuan village".

  Wangjialing Village has grown corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and other food crops for generations. Due to the steep terrain and inconvenient transportation, the villagers have almost no other sources of income and live in poverty.

  After the reform and opening up, Wangjialing Village responded to the call of the state and changed the whole village to grow oranges in the soil.

Tan Guangjun, who was the captain of the production team at the time, recalled that there was "great resistance" at that time.

The villagers have been farming for generations, and they are worried that the navel oranges they grow will not be sold, and there will be no food to eat.

Sometimes the orange seedlings planted during the day are pulled out at night.

  Tan Guangjun's wife Xie Kexiang has always supported her husband's decision.

Without much consideration, the couple first rectified all their land.

In this way, "one family drives household planting", and fresh navel oranges are slowly introduced into the "poor mountain valley".

  In 1982, Wangjialing Village began to "contract production to households"; in 1992, the village implemented "one village, one product", and made great efforts to carry out large-scale planting.

  "At that time, we had to carry oranges by ourselves, get up before dawn, and climb the mountain road to sell in the town." Recalling the first few years of planting, Tan Guangjun and Xie Kexiang were full of sadness.

  The navel orange tree really became a "cash cow" in 2015.

That year, the newly built road was opened in the village, and the memory of the couple "carrying on their shoulders" has completely become history.

  In the 1990s, Wangjialing set a production target that the output of navel oranges in the village would reach 2 million kilograms.

Nowadays, the annual output of a single family in the village can reach 2 million kilograms, and the annual output value of the whole village has exceeded 100 million yuan.

  The road is open, the WiFi is fast, and the young people in the village are gradually "returning to their nests"...Tan Guangjun and Xie Kexiang counted the changes in Wangjialing Village to the team members.

Facing the camera, the two ancient and rare old people happily compared "yeah".

  Over the past 8 years, the team has always kept an unwritten rule - all practice locations are determined by the students themselves.

The team members self-declared and contacted independently, and the team could not be declared established until the materials passed the review and received a reply from the relevant local department.

Almost every team leader "complained" to the reporter during the interview, and there was never a lack of difficulties in every step from the initial contact to the implementation.

  Every summer, there are countless practice teams of college students all over the country. How to "stand out" and get support from relevant local departments?

Many elderly people have been deceived. How to convince them that the team really "takes pictures for free"?

Most of the elderly can only speak dialects. How to find ways to overcome language barriers and make communication go smoothly?

The team members come from all over the world, how to arrange the basic necessities of a dozen people?

These issues all need to be addressed.

  Zhao Chen, who newly joined the team in 2022, became the captain of the Huanggang team of the "Dream Realization Project" "without any danger".

Either because of continuous persistence, or because of the good popularity on weekdays, in the end, Zhao Chen recruited satisfactory players, and also got the contact letter from Huangmei County at the last moment.

  In Yu Jinwen's eyes, this boy who usually wears a pair of white round-frame glasses has been a taciturn and very low-key person in the first two years of college.

A few months after joining the practice team, Zhao Chen became cheerful.

Leading the team to an unfamiliar small county, he can arrange the diet and daily life of a group of more than a dozen people in an orderly manner, can talk freely in front of the media's camera, and is also used to cheering for the team members in meetings every night... See Yu Jinwen is very pleased with Zhao Chen's growth.

  Zhao Chen, who majored in preschool education at the School of Humanities, wants to become a "people's teacher like Teacher Yu" in the future.

He also wants to help his students carry out social practice and continue volunteering.

  In 2020, after graduating from university, Geng Yuanping was admitted to the Three Gorges Navigation Administration of the Yangtze River and became a front-line salesman in the operation of the Three Gorges ship lock.

He said that his volunteer service experience during college made him understand that he should do his job well and be a useful person to the society at the same time.

  "The couple holding hands inside are my parents. Thanks to the dream team, they have done something that their children have never done." "Grandpa and grandma are so happy! This dream is very meaningful." "I still want to shoot, how can I contact you? "... In the team's new Douyin account, you can often see such messages.

  Before leaving for the summer practice in 2022, Zhang Tao specially asked the new captain Zhao Chen to visit Zhao Xinguo and Li Luanjiao when he returned to Huangmei.

  Zhao Xinguo waited at home early in the morning after learning that a group of new team members had returned for a return visit.

He deliberately placed the wedding photos taken 3 years ago in the most prominent position in his home.

In the photo, Zhao Xinguo is wearing a black suit, leaning over to stare at his wife in a wheelchair and wearing a snow-white wedding dress, his eyes are full of love.

  Watching Zhao Xinguo carrying Li Luanjiao down from the third floor tremblingly, Zhao Chen fell into deep thought.

Today's fast-paced life is changing young people's concept of love.

At the moment when "fast-food love" is prevalent, "we envy the old people's companionship, but we are actually reflecting on our own lives."

  Facing the camera, in fact, most old people do not have a natural "camera sense".

They often have unsteady eyes, or even unease, unable to hide their fear.

In addition to guiding the elderly to adjust their expressions, the volunteers are more important to look at the timing, take continuous snapshots, and then select the two most satisfying photos from hundreds of thousands of photos.

  This is the first "decent photo" of most elderly people in their lives, and it may be the last.

  At the end of 2019, Yu Jinwen received a call from Huanggang, Hubei.

On the other end of the phone, an old man said tremblingly that his wife passed away not long ago, "Thank you for taking pictures of us all the way, this photo is now my only thought."

  One day in July 2022, an old man in Pingshan County, Hebei took off his wedding dress after taking photos, called the captain Li Liyue aside, held his hand tightly, and asked him to take a few more half-length photos of himself.

The old man said, "When I leave, I will use this as my portrait."

  Zhang Zihang China Youth Daily China Youth Daily reporter Lei Yu Source: China Youth Daily