The city of Jaipur is well known for a number of things such as its magnificent forts and palaces, rich and vibrant culture, royal history, ancient structures, bandhej and lehariya work clothing, kunda meena jewellery and other works of art.
But there is one more thing related to the pink city’s historic times, which not many are aware of. We are talking about a 150 year old Carl Zeiss camera in Jaipur that is still working enough to get your pictures clicked.
Meet Tikam Chand Pahari of Jaipur, who is probably the last practicing street photographer in the country. He has an 1860 Carl Zeiss camera which is still alive and working. It is amazing how Tikam Chand has sustained such a profession which was once very popular but came to an end after the introduction of DSLRs and smart phone cameras.
Mr. Pahari’s camera is more than a century old and is still working fine. His 150 year old Carl Zeiss camera looks like it has been taken out of some black and white period movie. It is a wooden camera covered with black leather. The camera also features an inbuilt dark room for processing photos that are clicked by it. This camera once used to be the only source of pictures, say a century ago.
What is amazing about this one camera is that it still exists in a working condition even when such polaroid photography apparatus began to disappear during the 90s. Tikam Chand has been working with this camera since the time when digital cameras and smart phone cameras had not come into the picture and weren’t popular.
He captures everything from passport photos for official works to wedding pictures of couples to pictures of tourists visiting the city of Jaipur.
It is not an easy task to be sustaining an age-old camera and not giving in to the pressure of expenses and hassles. Tikam Chand shared that finding spare parts was a next to impossible task since no one uses these cameras now. He told that they had to sometimes depend entirely on Peepal leaves to ensure that the camera remains intact and does not dissemble. They had to be very careful handling the lens as well.
Tikam Chand said that all his efforts were worth it since he has been able to keep the tradition alive. And on the way he has learnt the art of maintaining the camera. He has kept the roots alive about how photography started and how it was done years ago and how hard it was to learn this art.
Though Tikam Chand has to put in a lot of efforts to maintain the camera, but he loves his camera and loves to take care of it. He says that the kind of clarity that this 150 year old camera generates is very rare. He also shared about one of his customers, who visits Jaipur all the way from Spain every year just to map his aging. This customer asks Tikam to click a photograph of him every year, which the tourist keeps in his scrapbook.
You can reach out Tikam Chand at +91-9828072800