A middle-aged man in Bac Kan city, northern province of Bac Kan, has immersed himself in a unique interest for 30 years: collecting photos of President Ho Chi Minh taken throughout his life.

As many as 400 photos make up Nguyen Duy Xa's treasure, which are among those objects that were handed down to his children.

His first photo was a gift from his father in 1977, a portrait of Uncle Ho with a dedication signed by the President on the back of the photo: "Especially to a ‘soldier' fighting against illiteracy – primary pupil Nguyen Thi Phuong".

Phuong, Xa's older sister, helped people in their community learn to read and write in 1958. President Ho gave her his portrait as a gift.

Xa has kept the photo carefully, which then inspired him to gather more photos of the leader.

Whenever hearing there were photos of Uncle Ho somewhere, he hurried to take his backpack and camera to see the photo.

"I was excited and wanted to possess valuable photos of the great leader," he recalled, "Yet, many times after travelling a long distance to reach the destination for some photo, I realised that I already had that photo in my collection. Sometimes, the owner of the photo did not permit me to take the original version; I had to make a copy of it with my camera. I felt happy at those times, too, as I had the chance to exchange with people who had the same interest."

Though 400 photos in his collection are not of the same quality, and some photos are unclear, yet he always put them in frames and hung them on walls with great care.

Among the photos Xa likes the most is one of President Ho meditating at Pac Bo Cave during the 1941-1945 periods. Also, a photo of the President wearing the costume of a monk, which his friends copied from an original photo at a museum in Thailand, is among his favourites.

Xa said that when he looks at each photo he can tell the time, location and the tasks that Uncle Ho had undertaken at that time. The photos help him understand the nation's history and learn more from Uncle Ho's modesty, simplicity and friendliness.

He added that he hopes his children and grandchildren will follow his passion.

Tong Thanh Hoa, Xa's wife, said all of the family members assisted him as he collected photos of the President.

Though he has never had a chance to meet Uncle Ho, whenever coming across photos or seeing documentaries on the President, Xa would take his own photos with his camera.

Xa always shares his collection with other people who have the same interest.

And, of course, another desire, after collecting so many photos, is building a larger house to hang photos on walls so that people who are interested can come see them and learn about the nation's history from the photos.-VNA