In a two-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, 62-year-old Dilish Parekh lives among some 4,600 cameras—the largest camera collection in the world, which has made Parekh the Guinness record holder since 2003. “I probably need 10,000 square feet to lay them out, but that is impossible in this city,” he says of Mumbai, one of the world’s most overcrowded cities, where the average residential space for the estimated 18.4 million people hovers just above 86 square feet. Instead, stacks of cameras—including some of the rarest and most expensive models in the world—spill off shelves that line the walls of his bedroom, in a home overrun by the spoils of over four decades spent scooping up every camera in sight.
Parekh, a jeweler who moonlights as a photojournalist, began collecting cameras in the early 1970s after his grandfather gifted him a camera. From there, the teenage Parekh began placing classified ads in newspapers, or scouring Mumbai’s sprawling Chor Bazaar flea market, in search of more (he was known to hit the market at 6 a.m. with two men in tow, each brandishing bags in anticipation of a hefty prize).