Panorama Chardeh Valley and Baber Shah's Musjid [Kabul].
Photographer: Burke, John
Medium: Photographic print
Photographic panorama composed of three joined prints, of the Chardeh plains near Kabul in Afghanistan, showing the small Masjid-i-Bala Chauk mosque and a Muslim cemetery in the right foreground, taken by John Burke, 1879-80. 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.
The Chardeh Valley is roughly twelve miles from east to west and eight miles north to south; it is surrounded on all sides by mountains and hills. It lies due west of Kabul and is separated from the city by the Asmai and Sherdarwaza Heights; the Deh Mazang gorge connects the plains with Kabul. British forces aimed to dominate this area during the Second Afghan War (1878-80) as the plains of Chardeh
occupied a strategically important position linking Kabul southwards to India.