About Us

 

A LITTLE ABOUT THIS COLLECTION AND MUSEUM

DR.ARUN'S CAMERA MUSEUM hosts the personal camera collection of Dr.A.V.Arun, which has been collected in different ways from different places all over the world.  
 

Dr.A.V.Arun is a Dentist and orthodontist, and  a professor of Orthodontics atSaveetha Dental College in Chennai..  He was also the Vice President of the Indian Orthodontic Society in 2007 – 2008 and the HonorarySecretary of the Indian Orthodontic Society from 2010- 2014.  Dr..V.Arun is also the Director of ' The Smile Center' a Multispeciality Dental  Center in Annanagar, Chennai

 Dr.A.V.Arun always housed a passion for antique and vintage objects which ranged from various brass antiques and rare world war two medals, old lamps, old projectors, miniature  liquor bottles  etc.

The passion for cameras started in 1997 when he came across two damaged Yashica TLR cameras on the platform shop  in a flea market in Chennai. He got both of them for Rs 300/- out of interest dismantled one of them  to understand the mechanism by which it works.  Slowly this interest grew and he  started to go through the history of these cameras and found it very interesting and inspiring. As time went by, he started to pick up a few more cameras here and there and slowly the collection started to grow. By 2000, his collection was about 300 vintage cameras.

The addition of vintage cameras was happening in different ways.  Whenever Dr.A.V.Arun travelled out of the city or country, he made sure that he visited the flea markets,  old camera dealers and  camera collectors and interacted with them and sometimes got some good cameras from them. Very  few of the cameras were got at auctions.   However,   a lot of  cameras were got from friends, relatives , his patients   and  colleagues who had donated their old film cameras for a noble cause and a few who have sold them to him.

      Many times there were people who were not known to Dr.A.V.Arun who would call him up and express their desire to donate an old camera to him.  This was mainly because the camera probably has a emotional attachment to them and they did not want to throw it out or give it to a trader who would sell it for profit.  He recollects that in 1999 an  80 year old lady called him up one night and told him that she had an old camera that she wanted to donate to his collection.  On reaching her house, he was presented with a Grey  Yashica B TLR camera, which was in mint condition.  He was informed by the lady that the camera was presented to her by her husband who was no more on the day that he proposed to her and she has kept it very safe since that day and had never ever used it.  The Grey yashica B is considered as one of the rarest of Yashica Cameras.

 

The collection grew silently and steadily till on September 15th 2008, a big revelation came when the collection was covered  in a special edition of ' The Hindu” news paper under the title 'things people collect'.  This article brought out the collection into center stage and also fueled a massive interest in public to know more about the collection and to see the rare cameras that were covered in the article.  Following this article, there were a  number of requests from various institutions and photography clubs  to display vintage cameras and also from  photography and visual communication students to have a look at the collection which was at that time around  900 in number.  A lot of exhibitions ware conducted in Chennai and Outside Chennai too, the  most important being in the National institute of Technologies's prestigious annual national inter college  scientific meet PRAGYAN. There were also a few requests for lectures at some institutions.

  During this time the passion for vintage cameras and photography equipment , made Dr.A.V.Arun read a lot about vintage cameras. His collection was not just restricted to vintage cameras and projectors, but also to vintage photography books  especially the almanac of photography 1938, and other books from the nineteen forties.  This allowed him to gain a lot of knowledge about vintage cameras and he started to take lectures for visual communication students on History of Photography .

By 2012, the collection had started attracting the attention of the press with  The Times of India  doing  a huge coverage in its special edition called “ through the lens”;  and in  2014, The Times Of India, once  again made  an article on the collection.  The popular Tamil newspaper Dinamanicoveredthe collection in a half page article in 2014 .

 

            Another very big breakthrough came when the organizers of the World  camera fair 2013, which was held at the Chennai Trade Center, invited Dr.A.V.Arun to display around 500 vintage cameras and provided almost  800 square feet space  free of cost for this purpose.  The display was seen by more than 1,00,000 members of the public, students,  photographers and photographic enthusiasts.Seeing the success and the response from the public, the organizers of the international camera fair  once again invited Dr.A.V.Arun in 2015 for the 2nd international camera fair, but this time provided more than 1200 square feet  fully furnished  space to display around a 1000 cameras.  The 2015 exhibit was seen by more than 1,50,000visitors. The collection then was more than 1500 rare vintage and antique cameras.

 

   The idea of setting up a permanent museum was born in 2013  when there were many requests from photographers,  college professors and also visual communication students to  display the collection.  This was not possible at that time as all the cameras  were in the residence of Dr.A.V.Arun, and many of them were packed.  Some of the cameras are very very rare and Dr.Arun felt that they needed to be kept not only for his personal view, but for the general public to see and appreciate.  This collection, he felt was after all ,  a depiction of the vast and glorious history  of cameras and photography  which everyone  needed  to see and experience. 

 

 

The museum was inaugurated on the 11th of January by National award winning  and popular cinematographer Mr.P.C.Sreeram.  The museum is situated in Eact Coast Road in Chennai.  And contains  more than 1500 antique and vintage cameras. The  cameras include Box Cameras from 1900 onwards, large format wooden box cameras from 1870 onwards , a 8 feet long  and 5 feet tall  wooden extra large format cameras , 3 cameras that are more that 5 feet long, folding bellows cameras, twin lens cameras, SLR cameras, Instant cameras, Range finder cameras, view finder cameras, monorail cameras, Cameras used in World war II,  Field cameras, sb miniature cameras or Vintage spy cameras, 8mm and 16mm movie cameras, Video cameras and handy cams

Other than cameras, the collection also includes  8mm and 16 mm movie projectors, vintage printing  equipment, lighting equipment, print processing equipment,  light meters, film plates, film rolls, glass plates etc.  There is a collection of books right from 1932 onwards and also  vintageencyclopedia of photography.

The museum also has a lecture hall where classes are taken on photography . there is also a  shop which sells a variety of products.