Thursday March 14, 2013
Veteran photographer: Bury me with my camera collection
By JOSEPH KAOS Jr
KUALA TERENGGANU: Seventy-year-old Wang Fook Seek may be sitting on a prized collection of hundreds of antique cameras, including a rare 100-year-old Voigtlnder Braunschweig camera from Germany.
However, the veteran photographer will not part with his collection for anything, he's even willing to be buried with it.
“I hope one of my three daughters will continue to keep my collection. But if they are going to throw it away, I want it to be buried with me in my grave,” said Wang jokingly.
The cameras including those used by photojournalists during World War II are kept behind glass shelves at his tiny shop at Kg Tiong here. A sign reading “For Exhibition Only” warns off any buyer.
Taking the pride of place is the Voigtlnder Braunschweig camera displayed at the entrance of his shop.
“A friend gave me this camera because he knew I loved to collect old cameras. As you can tell, a camera this size was only used in the studio back then.
“Actually, I don't know the true value of my entire collection. It could be worth a lot of money. It could even be worthless because nobody uses these cameras anymore.
“But I will not part with them,” said the Terengganu Photography Association vice-president, who started taking an interest in photography when he was 12.
Besides his camera collection, Wang has kept various photographs, some of which are over a hundred years old and included a picture of a rare leatherback turtle landing in 1957.
“I have seen one the size of a Volkswagen Beetle before. The reason why I keep these old photographs is because people today do not know what things were like back then,” he said, while pointing at pictures depicting the traditional lifestyles of villagers and fishermen.
His capture of such a moment fishermen pushing a wooden boat to shore in Batu Buruk beach won him an award from the International Photographic Salon of Japan in 1988.
Wang admits that he has a fondness for film cameras despite having embraced the digital age.
“I use a digital camera nowadays. But nothing beats the joy of taking photos with film cameras. I would take my time to snap the best shot and when I print these photos, I feel happy.
“Nowadays, the younger generation will happily snap and delete photos because it is digital. It is not much fun,” said Wang, who keeps himself busy by organising photography competitions in Kuala Terengganu.