1860 का इकलौता वर्किंग कैमरा, पूरी दुनिया में एक ही है,मिनट कैमरा मैडम,टेक फोटोग्राफ; these words of a middle-aged man made me stop, where I saw this intriguing piece of history happening Infront of my eyes, and I totally forgot I was rushing to Hawa Mahal in Jaipur.
ये पुश्तैनी है, हमारे दादा जी के टाइम से है, says Surendra; the last remaining practitioner, and the proud owner of 1860 Carl Zeis camera. Time stops when you see Surendra Chand working diligently on this vintage box mounted on an aged tripod.
This camera belongs to an era where getting yourself photographed was an exceptional occasion, so does the arrival of the photographer. Royals used to send bagghi to bring photographers to their palaces, explains Surendra. Such vintage wooden camera was quite a rage in the 19th century, especially amongst royals. Unlike today, photography used to be an exorbitantly expensive affair.
I got myself photographed. Surender explained, the art and the science behind developing the photograph. Since it was an off season, we continued our conversation. The more he spoke about this camera and his craft, the more I could see his face illuminating with pride and gratification. Every year Surender takes lectures for photography enthusiasts, and people come from all over the world to listen to him. Several documentaries have already been made in Brazil and Ukraine. But there is always the other side of the story.
Keeping the camera in working condition in today’s scenario is a cumbersome task, due to the non-availability of raw material. We haven’t received the recognition that an artist should have, and sometimes it’s difficult to upkeep, explains Surendra with moist eyes. Upon asking what makes them carry forward their legacy despite radical changes in photography Surendra replies: ये काम हर कोई नहीं कर सकता,ये एकआर्ट है; डिजिटलआने से हमारी ज़िम्मेदारी इसके तरफ और बढ़ गयी है, such is the passion of this man for his craft. Surendra and his brother Tikam Chand set up his makeshift street studio for the last 40 years near Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, every single day with a smile. Their belief in their craft is unshakable; may be that’s what we call passion.
आज की जनरेशन इसको देखे और जाने यही चाह्ते है हम, says Surendra with a smile. He is carrying this legacy so that we don’t lose touch with our roots and because he is proud of his roots. In the maddening age of technology, such people, help us keep grounded, much closer to our roots. They are the true Heritage keepers of India.
Next time when you visit Jaipur, and you hear ; “one-minute camera, 1860 black and white camera!!”, stop…stop to Live the era where memories were captured in mind, while the task of capturing some momentous events was left to these passionate photographers.
If you have business opportunity related to this wonderful craft Please contact: Tikam Chand- 9828072800/9024715885