Vintage cameras that capture the connoisseur’s eye in Delhi

A total of 40 of the rarest pieces from the collection went on exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts on Tuesday, to mark World Photography Day.

Updated - August 20, 2014 06:37 pm IST

Published - August 20, 2014 08:28 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A visitor at the exhibition of vintage cameras being held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in Delhi.Photo: Monica Tiwari

A visitor at the exhibition of vintage cameras being held at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in Delhi.Photo: Monica Tiwari

When it was introduced in the 19 Century, the daguerreotype wooden camera was the pinnacle of photographic technology.

Today, it is the oldest piece in a treasured collection of vintage cameras that is on exhibition here. A jeweller by profession and a collector by ‘obsession’, Mumbai-based Dilish Parekh has a whopping 4,425 still photography cameras.

A total of 40 of the rarest pieces from the collection went on exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts on Tuesday, to mark World Photography Day. The exhibition, which will remain open on Wednesday also, is the first glimpse of Mr. Parekh’s collection for Delhiites.

“I chose the most unique cameras to bring to Delhi and visitors have loved the exhibition. Photography students and senior photographers tell me that they can’t believe these cameras exist,” said Mr. Parekh.

Starting from the 1890 model of the daguerreotype to cameras from the 1960s, Mr. Parekh’s collection started when his grandfather gave him the first 600 vintage cameras. The camera bug has now passed down to the next generation, with Mr. Parekh’s sons responsible for maintenance of the collection housed at the family’s South Mumbai flat. Though the cameras are old, 90 per cent of Mr. Parekh’s collection is in working condition. “They all have manual parts, which last longer than today’s cameras which have electronic parts,” explained Mr. Parekh.

Over the years, cameras have come in the form of gifts as well as rewards for dedicated searching in Bombay’s Chor Bazaar. “We never spent more than Rs.100 for a camera when we started collecting in the 1950s. Some were gifted by Parsi families, we even have a camera given by Ratan Tata from his personal collection,” said Mr. Parekh.

While the collection has grown organically over the years, now, Mr. Parekh said, vintage cameras have become more expensive. “With the internet, anyone can offer a huge amount of money for a camera. There are only four or five cameras that I want,” he said.

Finding mention in the Guinness and Limca books of record was not the only goal for Mr. Parekh. Showing the selfie generation what photography was all about was on top of the agenda. “I have spoken to the Central Government about starting a camera museum. No one else in the world has these cameras,” said Mr. Parekh.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who inaugurated the exhibition, said he was delighted that an Indian holds the world record for the largest camera collection. Apart from Mr. Parekh’s collection, an exhibition of original photographs from 1850 to 1910, titled ‘Drawn From Light: Early Photography and the Indian Sub-continent’, was inaugurated by Ravindra Singh, Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, on Tuesday at the IGNCA.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.