Coinciding with Haryana’s 50 years of formation, on November 1 a collection of 800 antique cameras (manufactured in the 19th century) by photographer Aditya Arya will give way to the country’s largest camera museum. A significant mark in the history of Indian Photography.
‘The Museo Camera – Centre of Photography’ museum is being built by Municipal Corporation Gurgaon (MCG) at Chakkarpur village - adjacent to condominiums in DLF Phase 4.
Stretched across 15,000 square feet, the museum will also showcase Arya’s collection of work from different photographers such as Raghu Rai, Kulwant Roy and Pablo Bartholomew.
The 56-year-old visual curator said that since childhood his hobby for accumulating antique photographs and cameras from ragpickers and vintage camera sellers soon turned into a rare collection.
“The art of photography always evoked curiosity in me. A photograph just captures a moment but it leaves so many interpretations and perspectives to ponder. Hence, this obsession was born,” Arya said.
A journey down a fleet of stairs leading into his basement at his apartment in DLF Phase 3 shows this inquisitiveness.
The room boasts of studio, field, and portable cameras of era-defining brands such as Kodak, Leica, Ansco, Zeiss, Graflex and Thornton Pickard.
The walls depict a collection of 20,000 original silver prints chronicling India’s freedom movement. These include rare photographs of Mahatma Gandhi in a debate with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Indian National Army trials, Jawaharlal Nehru bidding farewell to his grandson Rajiv Gandhi as he leaves for a tour, several Congress party and Muslim League meetings, and also photographs from the Sino-Indian War and Non-Aligned Movement meetings.
Most of Arya’s collection is self-funded aside from few gifts from his friends and acquaintances during foreign trips.
MCG officials said once built, the museum will accommodate more than 100 people, having two galleries, a dark room and a workshop area.
“The MCG was intrigued by Arya’s collection and collectively decided to showcase this in a museum built for this purpose and adding to the list of must-see places in Gurgaon,” said Vivek Kalia, MCG joint commissioner.
MCG officials said tickets will be priced at nominal rates and will be formalized soon. They also said the opening date has been coincided with 50th Haryana Day celebrations when Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar will be in Gurgaon and most likely he will be inaugurating this museum.