Camera magician Harry Mueller is a legend not only in his hometown of Santiago, Chile, but also with international travelers. References to him in guidebooks like The Lonely Planet, TripAdviser.com, and numerous travel blogs all refer to him of the wizard of camera repair–able to diagnose and fix just about anything. And, if you manage to visit his shop, you’ll find just about every make and model of every camera ever made. In the video below, traveler Florian Dournes takes us on a tour through this Aladdin’s Cave of photography:
One of the defining characteristics of Mueller is that he hates replacing parts–he’ll only do it as a last resort. His primary joy is in fixing things. This was what was most difficult for him in the transition to digital cameras: when something goes wrong with a conventional camera, you can usually fix it. When something goes wrong in a digital camera, it’s usually a circuit that needs to be replaced.
Now, at the age of 75, Mueller is thinking of transforming his shop–which contains somewhere around 50 years of camera history—into a museum to showcase all the amazing designs of past camera models.
To him, it’s not the newest releases that embody perfection of the photographic art–they’re just the knowledge of the ancients transformed into electronics. In his mind, every camera ever made has its own uniqueness and is worthy of being studied for its own “perfection.”
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