Photo exhibition featuring life of famous Luminor Photo stores' owner
Photos are selected from three albums of Nguyen Van Chanh and his eldest daughter Bach Diep – Vietnam’s first female film director. This is the first time their works are published after almost one century stored away.
The exhibition is an extension of “Makét 01: There Was Once a Photography Craft Village” on Lai Xa village on the outskirts of Hanoi.
In 1926, after two years of learning the craft from a relative, the 15-year-old Nguyen Van Chanh, born in Lai Xa, requested a bank loan all by himself to open his own photography store and named it Luminor Photo. During the French colonization, the store already had 4 branches in big commercial centers in the North at the time including Hai Phong, Hanoi, Sapa and Lang Son. It was said that a portrait taken at Luminor Photo was ten times the average price at that moment, nevertheless the business thrived, the majority of its customers were wealthy people willing to pay for an exceptional quality and service.
The success of Luminor Photo had given Nguyen Van Chanh a rare freedom in photography and in life. If the portraits show a respectable, if serious, business-owner Nguyen Van Chanh, then photos from his daily life show more intimate, spontaneous moments of a young man. He stood out wearing a suit with slicked back hair, at the center of group photos or on the background of picturesque landscape with his eyes on the horizon.
A witness of time, the diary in photos depicts the life and career of a photographer – businessman in Vietnam who dared to think and dared to act, in the time when the country was transforming through the war and the exchange in cultures. An opportunity to not only reenact history through a personal lens, but to continue and redefine.
The event will be hosted in Matca Space for Photography (48 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Hanoi) until Oct. 7./.