Hong Kong camera shop owner David Chan has spent the last 60 years collecting vintage camera gear and amassing an impressive collection of vintage photographic equipment. South China Morning Post visited Chan and interviewed him about his impressive collection.
The short film, ‘The Camera Guardian’, was filmed by Chris Chang. Its title is apt, as David Chan views himself as less of a collector and more of a guardian. He is working to preserve vintage camera gear, rather than cultivating a personal collection.
Chan owns David Chan Co., where he has sold cameras since the 1960s. There are some cameras that have come into his shop that he doesn’t want to sell, thus his collection has grown. He enjoys showing off his cameras and helping a new generation of photographers come to learn about and appreciate vintage camera craftsmanship. Any shutterbug would certainly be in gear heaven in Chan’s shop.
|David Chan in his Hong Kong camera shop|
Chan says, ‘Cameras are complicated to make. Cameras are luxury items.’ Some of his vintage lenses even contain radioactive elements that current regulations ensure are no longer found in modern camera equipment. But without the radioactive elements, Chan believes some newer lenses have lost their ‘flavor.’ He continues, ‘Modern lenses can’t produce the unique texture that vintage lenses could.’
Of digital cameras, Chan argues that while digital is more convenient, some character has been lost. Chan’s passion for photography is readily apparent. When passersby stop to look through the shop windows at the cameras, Chan invites them in and is eager to share his knowledge with visitors.
With respect to his own photography skills, Chan laughingly says, ‘I’m not a good photographer. Photography is an art. But I cherish cameras as works of art. Holding a camera in my hand makes me very happy. Pressing the shutter and listening to the sound also makes me so happy. Having spent so much time around cameras, does Chan have a favorite camera? He loves European cameras, such as ones from Zeiss, Voigtlander and Leica.