Wed, Aug 09, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Photographer opens store selling retro collectibles

By Weng Yu-huang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Teng Hui-en holds a ceramic casserole dish with a bird-shaped lid at his Vintage Life store in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District yesterday.

Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times

Before his second career, Teng Hui-en (鄧惠恩) was a veteran photographer with a varied resume, having worked during the golden age of photojournalism and as the presidential photographer, with the job taking him around the world.

Last month, he opened the doors of Vintage Life, a store in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) that sells retro collectibles that he gathered during his globe-trotting former career.

The shelves of the 10-ping (33.1m2) store are filled with memorabilia from 30 years of collecting — ceramic tea sets, antique walnut lamp stands, cheese knives, bottle openers, glass cups and coffee percolators.

In addition to exotic objects from Europe and the US, items on sale include arts and crafts that the nation exported in the 1980s and 1990s.

“The life of a reporter took me to many places in the world,” Teng said.

“During breaks, I enjoyed exploring streets and browsing shop windows. When I saw an object that I really liked, I bought it and took it home,” he said.

As the collectibles gradually filled his house, Teng said he began to dream of opening a store upon his retirement, which would function as a small flea market.

“Those things were my babies for 20 or 30 years, but the value of collecting is not in the things in themselves; it is in what you learn from the objects,” he said.

He chats with customers about the stories behind each object and he is glad when his collection brings joy to buyers, Teng said.

“In one sense, selling a collection is losing something I love, but in another sense it is sharing their wonders with other people,” he said.

Vintage Life is meant to be a venue for him to meet and share things with follow collectors, Teng said.

So far, he has met many middle-aged customers searching for reminders of their youth, as well as young people indulging in retro aesthetics, he said.

“I like how this is a place where Eastern and Western cultures, as well as multiple generations, mingle,” he said.

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