Tikam Chand's 200-year-old Camera still Captures Photographs the Vintage Way at Hawa Mahal

Photographs are memories captured in a nutshell to be stayed for generations and this photographer in Jaipur is standing true to this line with his 200-year-old camera.

Hitanshu Bhatt
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In an era where photographs have made space in everyone's pockets, nobody wants to carry those bulky cameras. Let’s not say nobody, because this cameraman in Jaipur with his 200-year-old camera still captures photographs the vintage way and also people's attention with his World War I era box camera. The German-manufactured Carl Zeiss camera that Tikam Chand uses is more than a piece of equipment, it is a heritage property as it has been used by three generations of the Chand family. His grandfather who was popularly known as Pahari Master was a Royal photographer for the Maharaja of Jaipur in the 19th century. After which the princely state was dissolved and the responsibility of preserving the camera was given to Pahari. Since then the camera has been handled by 3 generations of the family and is still kept in working condition.

Tikam Chand
Tikam Chand with his vintage camera (Image Courtesy: Tikam Chand/Instagram)

The camera as said has been valued and preserved by the family so much so that it still holds a historical significance. The responsibility of handling the camera was passed by Pahariji to his children and his children passed on the baton to their children; Tikam Chand and his brother in 1977. Since then, Tikam has been taking care of the camera by not keeping it on a shelf but taking it out on the streets of Hawa Mahal every day to click hundreds of photographs.

Carl Zeiss camera
Carl Zeiss camera with lens (Image Courtesy: Tikam Chand/Instagram)

The body of the camera is made of wood and has a focus set, a 4×5 Carl Zeiss lens and a dark room all built into it. “During the time of my grandfather we used to get Gavit paper which started in 1860 itself, then came Indupaper, and after that Noa lustre. Even now we continue to use Noa but do not get it here in Jaipur. Sometimes I get it from studios in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Ahmedabad or at times I have gone as far as Chennai,” said Chand in one of the blogs by Jaipur City. 

vintage camera in hawa mahal
Image Courtesy: Tikam Chand/Instagram

The brothers charge Rs.200 for one photograph as it is extremely difficult to get these resources and preserve such a vintage camera. People overlook the price because who would want to miss the chance to get clicked in a gigantic camera that is one of its kind? Tikam has truly preserved this masterpiece over generations and believes in teaching his kids to do the same as the legacy of this only present camera should not be lost in the charm of memory cards and portable devices. Just like Tikam, we also believe, photographs are memories captured in a nutshell to be stayed for generations. So you can find this camera with the cameraman (Tikam) standing outside Hawa Mahal at his usual timings from 12:00 noon to 6:00 in the evening. 

Carl Zeiss camera box camera World War I era box camera 200-year-old camera Tikam Chand Carl Zeiss lens