A history of many smiles

May 23, 2013, 01:03 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

We explore a treasure trove for camera lovers as we chanced upon Farid Sheikh's Camera Museum that houses cameras that are centuries' old

We chanced upon a treasure trove for camera lovers and photographers. A journey down nostalgia lane is what we felt like when we stepped into the ancient Farid’s Camera Museum. Look at it either ways, the museum of these antique items exudes the care and love of the owner who we surely treats this place as a second home.

Farid Sheikh
Farid Sheikh, the owner of the museum with one his collectibles

The museum has almost a hundred cameras that the owner and camera-lover Farid Sheikh has collected by roaming all over the world. He confesses, “It was my passion for the camera because of which I bought this house to preserve them. I have travelled all over the world and invested almost all that I earned to collect and preserve these cameras.” What is awe inspiring about this collection is that “all the cameras that I have are in working condition and maintaining them is a big task,” he avers.

Antique 3D Camera
Antique 3D Camera

In retrospect, Sheikh relates the exact moment when his fascination for this modern invention grew, “I remember when I was very young, I was studying at St Vincent’s and used to help my father at his photo-studio. In those days a lot of children used to look at the window display and very naively discuss the cameras. That is when the idea germinated that one day; I would showcase a vast collection and educate children on how this fascinating lens box works.”

One can still see his childlike enthusiasm for these wonderful gadgets as he takes us through the features and highlights of every camera he stores. We offer few glimpses of that conversation but a visit to the museum is a must to discover several other fascinating camera and film related equipment such as old projectors, printers, video cameras and more.

Spy camera

This camera is more than 100 years old and is considered the oldest spy camera according to Farid. It has a round film and a viewfinder plus shutter which was made in the erstwhile Occupied Japan. In size, it is as small as a ring and can be fitted anywhere, even somewhere as obscure as behind the tie.

Novelty camera

A small wooden box camera, it can click 15 shots simultaneously. The camera was mainly used to click small photos and was made 150 years back by Warren brothers.

Wooden camera

These are huge cameras that were used mostly for clicking kings and queens as these cameras needed at least two people to move it from one place to another. More than 250 years old, these cameras were made in London.

Box camera

The Eastman Kodak company introduced the black box camera 200 years ago. This device only clicked vertical pictures and that were later modified for prints accordingly.

Polaroid camera

Initially known as the Polaroid Land Camera, this device was an instantaneous rage as it could immediately produce prints once clicked. The first camera of this make is known to be 125 years old.

Camera with flash

A revolution of sorts, this camera freed the photographer from depending upon natural light solely. This device has a bulb attached to the camera and was manufactured by the Kodak Duaflex Company.

3-D camera

The first 3-D camera also came into existence in the early 1900s. Made of cardboard and black paper, the camera was invented in Germany. The camera could function both as normal as well as 3-D camera.

Zeiss Ikon camera

A vintage item now, one of the last makes of this camera is found in Farid’s collection. The company is now mostly famous for making lenses. 

How to keep your camera safe and clean

>> Being is a scientific instrument, a camera must be handled properly. Thus make sure that it is handled in a delicate fashion and is cleaned with a special brush as well as vacuum cleaner from time to time.

>> Make sure that you keep a silica bag in the camera bag during the monsoon to protect it against moisture and humidity.

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