Panorama [of Kabul] from above Bala Burj.
Photographer: Burke, John
Medium: Photographic print
Photographic panorama of the city of Kabul in Afghanistan taken from the Bala Burj or watchtower of its citadel, by John Burke, 1879-80. Originally this print consisted of three parts, however the left-hand section has been detached and mislaid.
Panoramas were difficult to achieve with precision and were high forms of the photographer's art. Burke took atleast nine of Kabul. They are all part of the series of images providing a visual document of the country which 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.