Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Lai Xá Village in Hoài Đức District on the western outskirts of Hà Nội will open a photography museum celebrating the art form’s early 20th century roots in the village.
This is the first museum built by a Vietnamese community to showcase a local handicraft.
The museum is located in a two-storey house in the middle of the village with total exhibition area of 300sq.m.
Objects, photos and graphics tell the story of the traditional career. There is a recreation of an old studio, an exhibit on the originators of the medium, an explanation of the process of making photos by hand, a demonstration of old studio lighting methods and a collection of beautiful photos by today’s photographers in Lai Xá Village.
The museum, which offers guidance in Vietnamese and English, will officially open on May 15.
Locals hope to turn the museum and the nearby Nguyễn Văn Huyên Museum into tourism destinations.
The photography trade flourished in Lai Xá Village in the first half of the 20th century. In 1892, Nguyễn Đình Khánh, who was born in 1874 in the village, opened the first studio named Khánh Ký Studio on Hàng Da Street in Hà Nội. Then, some 150 studios were opened all over the country with over 2,000 photographers, who are mostly based in Hà Nội. Thirty four studios were opened in Sài Gòn and 35 studios in the southern provinces.
Studios run by people from Lai Xá always have word “Ký” or “Lai” in their names like An Ký, Thịnh Ký, Thiện Ký, Phúc Lai and Kim Lai. Photographers from Lai Xá are also working in other countries, including Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Many photojournalists who have gone on to success began their trade in the village, such as journalist Vũ Đình Hồng, who specialised in taking photos of President Hồ Chí Minh at the Presidential Palace.
Lai Xá Village has been recognised as the only village offering the traditional photography trade in Việt Nam. The man who opened Khánh Ký Studio is considered the Vietnamese originator of the craft.
The village has opened various training courses and a photography club named after Nguyễn Đình Khánh.
In the past 10 years, the club has organised five exhibitions, three people have become members of Việt Nam’s Association of Photography Artists and five artists have been recognised by the State as photography artisans. — VNS