A sepia-tinted piece of heritage…
As you walk pass the chaos, colour along the busy streets of Jaipur, crossing the enchanting honeycomb Hawa Mahal, you will happen to spot this piece of history. And no one can just pass without giving it a second look.
It’s an 1860 Carl Zeiss camera – the only of its kind that is left in the world today. And Tikam Chand today happens to be proud of this age-old beauty.
This only standing model this camera was gifted to was gifted to Pahari Lal (Tikam Chand’s grandfather) by the Maharaja of Jaipur as he was the Royal Photographer for the Maharaja. Pahari Lal, a passionate photographer himself happened to pass on this piece through generations.
Manufactured in the 1860s – this camera has its darkroom, fixer, developer and film box is all inside the 20-kg apparatus. Those days Pahari Lal used to get Gavit followed by Indupaper, and after that Noa lustre. Following the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Tikam Chand has been using the camera since 1977.
Smile ‘n’ Click
Today the camera happens to be more of a tourist attraction. This antique camera mounted on a wooden stand, the body is covered with worn out black leather and set with brass hardware. This old box stands at the background of Hawa Mahal holds a vintage magical charm of its own. Till date, the few of the spare parts when needed along with the chemicals need to be brought from France.
Tikam Chand strongly believes that black and white Polaroids are a real souvenir that can take from the city as it has its own dose of nostalgia. As he gets ready for action he asks his subject to sit on the bench, that’s right in front of the camera as he adjusts the focus by sliding the lens back and forth with his hand inside the wooden box as he indicates the fall of the shutter.
And then the wait as you could see your photo being developed right there in front of you. Mr Photographer is of the view that digital cameras can never give such joy that one gets from polaroids. Every day is a challenge for him as the Noa Lustre that he uses is not available anywhere in the city so he constantly in touch with the bigger photo studios in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and even Chennai to get that particular paper.
The camera has also made its Bollywood presence with movies like Shudh Desi Romance, Bhool Bhulaiyan, Sherkhan and Ek Tha Tiger.
Note: Landmark for finding him is Pandit Kulfi,
Cost per print: Rs 250 onwards
Find him of Facebook here
Parts of the article was published in What’sHot