Sometimes things don’t work out like you hoped… and then you have to decide whether to make what you really wanted happen anyway.
For Liu Fu, the dream in question was to have a beautiful wedding album filled with glamorous shots. It wasn’t in the cards when she married her late husband, Feng. The couple had little money, so they had a very small wedding. There was no funding for the sort of wedding album the bride had in mind.
In fact, there is not a single photograph of Liu’s wedding day.
The couple were happy and had four children together before Feng’s death some thirty years ago.
Now, at the age of seventy-six, Liu has the money to have the wedding album of her dreams, so she hired a photographer and a team of make up artists and wardrobe experts to create the photo session she wishes she had had all those years ago. Since the groom could not be a physical part of the proceedings, Liu dressed in men’s clothing for some of the shots so that he could be there in spirit.
Liu appears in the photos in both traditional Chinese dress and western dress for her album. Some of the photos show her as a Chinese empress, some as emperor, some in modern western bridal white, and some in 1920’s Shanghai male gangster threads.
Is this something I would do? No. I’m one of those people who thinks the moment is there and either you capture it then or you don’t. Time is ephemeral. It cannot be recreated, and I wouldn’t want to try.
But while there are plenty of people laughing at Liu, or vilifying her choice, I am not among them. She simply did something that mattered to her on a very personal level. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It makes her happy. It’s something she hopes her children will treasure to remind them of both her and their father when she’s gone.
Is it a foolish gesture? Perhaps. But I don’t think that really matters. I think it matters that she’s happy with her decision, that it reminds her of her late husband she loved so much, and that her lack of fear of the ridicule this engenders is an excellent example to her children and – I assume – grandchildren of how to be truly individual.
Rock on with your bad self, Liu Fu!