Migrant workers in China get the shot of a lifetime Migrant workers in China get the shot of a lifetime
Backstories

Migrant workers in China get the shot of a lifetime

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    Wedding photos are a chance for couples to remember the happiest time of their lives. In China, people pay huge sums for the perfect snap. But for migrant workers, these photos are just a dream. One photographer is trying to help out.

    Luo Xian is a photographer based in the city of Shenzhen. Most of her work is in fashion and advertising.

    While her studio was being built, she met a migrant worker on the construction team. He'd been married for years but didn't have any wedding photos because they were too expensive.

    "I was really struck by the level of disappointment," Luo says. "The dismay and the tone of his voice. And that was touching and I thought maybe I can do a project."

    The encounter inspired Luo to offer free wedding photos to migrant workers. She started the project last December, and now visits companies around the city looking for couples.

    Luo Xian is a photographer based in the city of Shenzhen.

    Luo met Yang Junhua and his wife Yin Shujiao at a construction company. They tied the knot 25 years ago but don't have any wedding photos. Their combined monthly income would barely cover a single session.

    The couple live in a tiny room provided by the company. They make ends meet by doing laundry by hand and not going out.

    "I've always wanted to have wedding photos but our financial situation makes it difficult," says Yin Shujiao. "They're too expensive."

    They left their hometown in the rural south over a decade ago and left their daughters with family. They send most of their money back to pay for school. It's a tough way of life.

    But today, they call home with good news. They tell their daughter that they are going to take wedding photos tomorrow.

    Yang Junhua and Yin Shujiao have been married for 25 years but don't have any wedding photos.

    Luo sets up a temporary studio at the construction site. This way, the couple can have their photos taken without having to pay for transportation. And Luo provides them with a wedding dress and tuxedo.

    The couple walk into the studio excitedly. This is the first time they've ever gotten this dressed up.

    After the shoot, Yin is filled with happiness.

    "This photo means that our love will last forever. I'm going to cherish it. This is a symbol of our love.

    Yang Junhua and Yin Shujiao were finally able to take wedding photos thanks to Luo's project.

    Luo says even though migrant workers have been crucial to China's economic development, they are still marginalized by society. She hopes her photos bring them a little bit of happiness.

    "I hope through this project, people pay more attention to migrant needs and their stories," she says. "And maybe we can give channels to their voices so they can speak up."

    Luo ends up taking photos for 31 couples at this company. She says she'll continue the project and give migrant workers the same chance as everyone else to look their best.

    Watch video 4:20