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[Video] The Story of Saigon’s Oldest Film Camera Repairman

Some might think that analog photography is the stuff of the past given the advent of digital cameras and smartphones, but there is still a modest population – including both newcomers and veterans – that appreciate the joy and magic of film cameras. 

Such a pursuit cannot be kept alive without the existence of camera shops, fixers, and photo labs, which give people the means to practice the old-fashioned way of capturing a moment. For this reason, 67-year-old film camera fixer Nguyen Van Tan's experience is a gift to any film camera enthusiast.

Born in 1952 in a family originally from Hai Duong, Tan started his job as a camera repairman in the 1970s and has been committed to the occupation ever since. Tan has witnessed the ups and downs of the city’s photography scene: from the abundance of film cameras in the early 1970s, to the years of hardship and uncertainty after liberation, to the advent of smartphones and the nascent resurgence of interest in film photography today. Spending half of his lifetime repairing film cameras, his devotion to the mechanics of film cameras has become the heart of Tan's identity.

In this feature video, Saigoneer paid the passionate camera repairman a visit to learn more about Tan's story: 

You can visit Tan at his home, Phi Bang camera repair shop, at 107 Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1.


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