This is the engagement photo taken in a studio of one of the most beautiful women I have ever known in my life, my seventh aunt, Chiew Sieng, on her engagement to Sia Kie Ming. Their son is David Sia Pik Yew of Sibu. I managed to digitalise this beautiful engagement photo which was "gifted" to my father after their engagement, circa 1952. Our family has kept this photo since then in a treasure album of great family love.
When a match had been made, and the exchange of rings taken care of, the engaged couple would be asked to take a photo together.
The favourite photo studios of those long ago days were Art Friends, Capitol Studio, and Broadway. The black and white photos lasted a life time. An engagement photo is usually followed by a wedding photo some time later.
I personally never had an engagement photo taken,much to my regret. My wedding photos were were taken by Art Friends.
It is often said, a seamstress has no new dress for her own Chinese new year. In my case, a photographer has very few or no photographs of her own.
It was often a shy thing to do, to take a photo together as a newly engaged couple. Both of them would not have known each other well. Very few were friends from young (Ching Mei Ju Mah - Young Plums Bamboo Horse), and in fact some were total strangers.
so many of the engagement photos were two people with "shocked eyes" look. some of course were perpectual love captured in a single black and white photograph.
The engagement photos were distributed by the engaged couple to friends and relatives. So they would have ordered two doznes if they had the budget or just a half a dozen or so. Two huge ones would be developed,printed and framed, one for the girl's family and one for the boy's family. These would be lovingly hung on the walls of the living rooms of the respective family. This was a good way of telling every one about the engagement.
I believe that this small act of love further blessed the couple for the rest of their life. In those days, marriage was forever and forever.