Camera Dilli-Ka – A Delhi Photo Archive 1880-1980
The Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK) at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) has been creating a collection of photographs from the personal holdings and amateur photographers from the city of Delhi. It is called the Narain Prasad Collection in memory of late Narain Prasad (1924-2016) resident of Haveli Haider Quli, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, whose photo donations to CCK started this journey in 2013.
A photography enthusiast from a young age, Narain Prasad got his first camera in 1938 at the age of 14. Consequently this amateur photographer went on to photograph the changing face of Delhi and its residents actively till the 1980’s. Currently almost 1200 of his photographs covering these years form more than half of the photo collection being built at CCK.
Besides these photographs, CCK continues to receive photographs from a number of local residents and travelers who have passed through or have been resident in Delhi during the period mentioned above – from residents like Fozan Ali Ahmed, Raj Chauhan and Jan Friese, to travelers like Gossi Soto (1950s) and Christophe Fanjat (1980s) among others.
This collection is unique because it gives us a people centered view of the metropolis in its growing years and draws attention to how city spaces – public and semi private, were used and remembered by those who lived there. The themes that these photographs explore make them evocative, textural and emotional, and take viewers back to similar moments in their own lives.