For Dilish Parekh rare cameras are his blood and heart. The Mumbai-based camera collector owns a treasure trove of rare and vintage cameras, which presently totals 4,425 and is being continually expanded. He also holds a Guinness record for the largest camera collection.
To mark the 175th World Photography Day, 40 cameras from Parekh’s collection are being displayed at an exhibition at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts here.
Still photographs keep reminding us that we are passing through history and we are reminded of the rich past through them, Union Minister of State Kiren Rijiju said after the exhibition was inaugurated.
The display also showcased original works from IGNCA’s Henri Cartier-Bresson Collection, which were put for public viewing after a gap of 20 years.
Lines of black and white photographs taken by the iconic photojournalist during 1950s and 60s in Ahmadabad, Mathura and Jaipur among others depict everyday life of people. The collection of cameras includes a Kodak Panoramic that a photographer from Gujarat used to click pictures at the first Parliament session with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister.
An aeronautic Rassi camera which was used in the Second World War to click pictures from the airplanes during bombardment was also among the exhibits.
In 2003, Parekh entered the Guinness Book of World record for the largest collection of still photography cameras when his collection totalled 2654 cameras, which comprises some of the rarest and oldest cameras.
The 61-year-old said he inherited a passion for photography by acquiring cameras as a 25-year old from his father during the late 1970s and counts a Leica M3 among his first possessions. Parekh’s penchant for cameras has taken him across the length and breadth of the country.
Like a connoisseur drawn to his object of interest, Parekh recounts an instance of procuring a batch of cameras from Kashmir. “Once I got information about some cameras in Kashmir. When we reached there, we had to get extra suitcases to pack them all and bring them to Mumbai,” recalls Parekh.
A diamond merchant by profession, Parekh says he hopes to keep on collecting more cameras till the time he can. The camera exhibition is slated to end on August 20.