An Old Hoianian's "Picture Diary"

By D.HOANG - A.PHAM |

(QNO) - At the age of 80, Mr Vinh Tan has over half a century of closely knitting with the camera. The old artist, however, always thinks of himself as a normal photographer who has taken pictures for keeping his family’s life.

Photographer Vinh Tan.
Photographer Vinh Tan.

In the “Quang Nam - Heritage Itinerary 2005 Festival”, this photographer organised a special exhibition themed “The Hoianians” with hundreds of photos about the life in Hoi An city and its residents in the past and present time. This photos collection was not only valued highly by his colleagues but also used as a precious document for art designers to create a fashion collection to performed in the festival.

Taking pictures from the eyes of a Hoianian

In the years of 1970 and 1980, all of the students in Hoi An wanted to have a chance to (watch film at) put their steps in Phi Anh movie theater and Vinh Tan studio. The elders and young young girls living in Hoi An city, Duy Xuyen, Dai Loc, Dien Ban districts (Quang Nam province) preferred to go to a this photo shop to take a picture. They are all old now, some of them passed away, but their own photos which were taken by photographer Vinh Tan are still new, containing the charm and beauty of the young days.

Hoi An river shore in 1950.
Hoi An river shore in 1950.

There were not many Hoianians who owned a camera in the years before 1945. Mr Vinh Tan studied how to use a camera while he was travelling to the countryside with his father in the young time. After 1950, he opened the photo shop to  feed his family.

Grazing oxen (1950).
Grazing oxen (1950).

The old artist always thinks of him as a normal photographer who has taken pictures for his family’s living, not an artist. Thanks to this job, he has money to continue his taste of taking art photos. From this way, he has taken thousands of pictures, many of which became the precious collection about Hoi An ancient town and Hoianians of Quang Nam land. (Most of his photos were taken through the normal and simple life of the Quang Nam countryside, beautiful landscapes  and Hoi An ancient town and people…)

Quang Noodle peddled ware.
Quang Noodle peddled ware.

Writing “Street  Diary“ by photos

Mr Vinh Tan said that he loved Hoi An city very much. He has loved this ancient town since he was young and Hoi An was unfamiliar to tourists. After working time, he went to many places in the city to take pictures, to “pursue the moments”. “I am now 72 years old. I have taken thousands of art pictures about the normal life of Hoi An city and Hoianians, but I have not been pleased with any pictures", Mr Vinh An said. Therefore, everyday, he still continues to go to many places on foot or by bicycle to “write his picture diary“ by camera.

Heading to the sea.
Heading to the sea.

Many years ago, Mr Vinh Tan held a photos exhibition themed “Hoi An in the past”. Many Hoianians came to enjoy his pictures because many of the exhibited photos were taken from the normal life of the ancient town and the countryside. Many of them are the beautiful sites and relics of Hoi An city introduced to tourists. After seeing the exhibitions, some visitors from Germany, Malaysia…asked Mr Vinh Tan to buy his pictures, especially the “Queen Nam Phuong” (King Bao Dai’s wife-the last king of the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam) with a high price, but he denied all.

Bailing water by triple long-handles bucket.
Bailing water by triple long-handles bucket.
Smiths.
Smiths.
Fishing sails boats.
Fishing sails boats.

By D.HOANG - A.PHAM