Passion for Collecting
Meeting with the Cameraman
By Ralph Kratzer
Some of the most interesting encounters in life are unexpected and just by chance.
When my girlfriend asked me last week if we should go for a beer to a pub, I of course agreed spontaneously. In this summer heat at the moment I fancy a cool beer in the evening hours. „But take your camera with you“, she said, „I’ll show you something interesting“.
The Dostlar Restaurant in Alsancak I have known for more than 10 years. When she directed me there, I thought by myself, “what should be really interesting there?”
But when we sat at the bar, I saw immediately what she had meant. Approximately 250 to 300 vintage cameras are exhibited in several shelves, some of which seemed to me, at first sight, really antique.
When I asked to whom these rarities belong, Vicky, the nice lady behind the bar, answered: „All of them belong to my husband and he has a lot more at home!“
Sedat “Sid” Kilic, said husband, came in shortly after this and I made an appointment with him for a brief interview.
Sid was born in Istanbul, and came as a child more than 30 years ago with his family – father, mother and sister – to Northern Cyprus. He here met his later wife Vicky and went with her to the UK. A planned stay of 1 year finally ended in 15 years of living and working near Manchester. The couple recently decided to relocate back to Northern Cyprus together with their 3 little daughters and Sid now operates, together with his wife and sister, the Dostlar, which was established by his father and ran for many, many years.
Of course I wanted to know first of all, how Sid had come to his unusual hobby and he told me that already as a child he was a passionate collector. His first collections were coins, banknotes and stamps, which he bought from or swapped with schoolmates.
His first camera, a Kodak Brownie box, he discovered at a car boot sale in England and bought it for 1 Pound. He, who never was interested in photography, bought more and more of the old pieces and owns now, after 13 years, a collection of more than 1,300 cameras, movie cameras and projectors. Together with the cameras often came old photographs and movies from the good old times “when the pictures started moving”.
Sid’s plan is, after appropriate reconstruction measures to the building, to exhibit step by step all his collectibles in the restaurant.
Of course, he has, over the years, acquired a profound knowledge about cameras by reading books, magazines and catalogues and visiting museums and exhibitions.
Asked about his most valuable piece in the collection, he said that this is a camera from 1850, which he had once bought for 26 Pounds and which is nowadays traded among collectors at a price of 8000 – 9500 Pounds.
Sid keeps contact with like-minded people, as usual today, through a Facebook group, which calls itself “Vintage Camera Collectors”.
If there is someone among the readers who is interested in vintage cameras or wants to sell or buy, Sid can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better yet, come for a chat to Dostlar Restaurant in Alsancak, on the main road opposite the Alpet petrol station.