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Peizwan Camp.

Peizwan Camp.

Photographer: Burke, John

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1879

Shelfmark: Photo 430/3(84)

Item number: 84

Length: 24.8

Width: 34.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph with a general view of a British army camp at Lukhai, on the road from Gandamak to Jalalabad in Afghanistan, taken by John Burke, 1879-80. At this point, near the Surkhab River, the level fields afforded a good camping ground for the army. An ample water supply provided by two streams and a spring to the northwest of the post ensured drinking water for 1,000 men, however other supplies such as food and fuel were scarce and were procured with difficulty.

The photograph is part of a series of images forming the Afghan War albums which provided a visual document of the country and resulted in Burke achieving renown as the first significant photographer of Afghanistan and its people. The British became involved in Afghanistan, trying to create a buffer state and protect their Indian empire in the face of Russian expansion in Central Asia. The Anglo-Russian territorial rivalry created what came to be known as the Great Game between the powers. In 1878 Burke accompanied British forces into Afghanistan, despite being rejected for the role of official photographer. He financed his trip by advance sales of his photographs 'illustrating the advance from Attock to Jellalabad'. In his two-year expedition in Afghanistan during the Second Afghan War (1878-80), Burke became the photographer of the region where the strategies of the Great Game were played out. In a latter phase of the war, from October 1879 to the summer of 1880, British troops (the Kabul Field Force) under General Roberts occupied Kabul. Burke stayed here for too for many months, photographing the city and its inhabitants and the surrounding territory. It is obvious from his varied images that he had a close relationship with the British troops and did not hesitate to be part of the frontline of action.

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