Family in the frame
Updated: 2013-12-05 09:14
By Wu Ni (China Daily)
Lu Defu, 67, rides his bicycle on the streets of Xinchang in Pudong New Area, Shanghai, to take pictures of elderly residents in the old town.
"I asked many old people whether their sons and daughters took photos for them. Most said no and that their children would take photos of the younger generation, rather than the elderly," Lu says.
Lu took a photo of each of the elderly women and sent the pictures to them as gifts. And he decided to fulfill the photographic dreams of more older people in the community.
He spent seven months, visiting the homes of more than 250 people aged above 80 and 90, voluntarily taking photos for them. The photos were named Smiling Faces of the Elderly and exhibited in the town.
Xi Jun, the director of the media and information office in Xinchang town, who helped with Lu's photo exhibition, says that many bedridden elderly people would never have had the chance to be photographed if not for Lu.
The area has about 13,000 residents aged 60 or older, accounting for 24.5 percent of its total registered population, similar to the share of the aging population in Shanghai, the first city in China designated an "aging society" as early as the 1970s.
More than 2,200 people in Xinchang are older than 80 and 267 people are older than 90. The oldest man is 107, Xi says.
Lu found that many elderly people wanted to have a family photo but most of them lived in the countryside, where there are few photo studios, so he decided to do the job himself.
But in many cases, even when he had made appointment with the family, there was always someone absent.
Last September, Lu was invited by an 89-year-old retired teacher to take photos of his family during Mid-Autumn Festival, the traditional day for family reunions. But a few days before the festival, he got a call from the old man who asked to cancel the photoshoot because his grandson would be traveling during the festival.