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HomeContentsThemes > Afghanistan


Information requests
10082.01   Improving content on countries
Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880)
10082.02   Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880): Introduction
10082.03   John Burke: Fixing the Negative
10082.04   John Burke: Portraits from the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880)
Afghanistan Wars (1979-?)
10082.05   Afghanistan Wars (1979-?)
10082.06   Steve McCurry - The Power of a Single Image
10082.07   Balazs Gardi: Basetrack One-Eight, Afghanistan (2010-2011)
Afghan Box Camera Project
10082.08   Afghan Box Camera Project
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated.
Information requests 
10082.01   Asia >  Improving content on countries 
We are seeking to extend the information and examples we can share on this country.
  • Earliest photographs
  • Key photographers and their studios
  • Major documentary photographic series
  • Significant historical events
  • Books, magazines and journals - including their covers
  • Photographic societies and associations - including outings and meetings
These points are indicative of topics that could be included on this page and if you have expertise you would like to share now is the time to get in touch.
If you are able to assist in any way it is appreciated.
Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880) 
10082.02   Asia >  Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880): Introduction 
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10082.03   Asia >  John Burke: Fixing the Negative 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
An engraving of a sketch by Frederic Villiers [1851-1922] that was published in The Graphic, July 12, 1879
'Mr. J. Burke the photographic artist attached to our Indian Army to illustrate the advance of the troops and the grand scenery of Afghanistan, was permitted by the Ameer of Cabul (sic) to take a series of pictures of himself and his suite at the camp at Gandamak. One of my sketches illustrates the process of 'posing' the Ameer, who indulged in a quiet smoke during the preparation of the photographic plates. After Mr. Burke had taken him in his gorgeous uniform of white and gold, the Ameer showed great anxiety to see the results, and Major Cavagnari explained to him the process of photography.'[1]
10082.04   Asia >  John Burke: Portraits from the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880) 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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Afghanistan Wars (1979-?) 
10082.05   Asia >  Afghanistan Wars (1979-?) 
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Afghanistan has had a turbulent history and this theme concentrates on the history following the pro-Moscow PDPA (Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan) in 1978 and the Russian invasion that went in to support it in 1979. As soon as the Russians invaded the American government became more interested in Afghanistan and start to fund, train and equip the islamic fundamentalist groups largely based in Pakistan that were trying to drive the Russians out. Russian forces got increasingly bogged down - while they could hold the major cities the supply lines between them and the surrounding countryside were in the control of the Islamic guerrilla fighters, or Mujahadeen. CIA supplied Stinger missiles hampered the Soviet means of supplying isolated troop units by helicopter and rising losses caused the Soviet forces to withdraw in 1989.
  • Steve McCurry photographed in Afghanistan just before the Russian invasion - his photograph of the scared woman refugee is one of the great 20th century images and an icon for the displaced everywhere.
  • Val Mazzenga (a six time Pulitzer Prize nominated photojournalist) covered the Afghanistan Resistance Fighters for the Chicago Tribune during the Russian Invasion.
  • Steven Laurence Raymer took the photographs for "Afghanistan's Troubled Capital -- Kabul", National Geographic, April 1985, pp. 494-505.
Afghanistan rapidly decended into a choatic civil war as different political parties, factions and tribally affiliated warlords fought for control. To establish some sort of control as the CIA had now lost interest the Pakistani Intelligence forces promoted and assisted the hard line Taliban and their supporters who were encouraged in their religious zeal to take control of most of the country including Kabul in 1996. The only internal opposition to Taliban control was the Northern Alliance that controlled less than 10% of the country. Islamic law was enforced over most of the country under Taliban rule with human rights ignored and the country increasingly isolated. This period is shown in the Film Osama (2003) that shows the daily fear of living under the Taliban.
  • The unsung heroes of this period are the anonymous photographers who risked their lives to record the atrocities of the Taliban - they recorded the hangings, stabbings, massacres and daily brutalization of the population. The powerful images at RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) provide the evidence for future generations.
  • A small but remarkable selection of journalistic photographs of Afghanistan and the Taliban from the takeover of Kabul in 1996 through 1998, taken by Finnish photojournalist Ilkka Uimonen.
After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York the USA became interested in Afghanistan again, start to bomb the country and supply military support to the Northern Alliance - the US backed by other countries invaded Afghanistan and assisted by the Northern Alliance drove the Taliban back - the war is a continuing saga of misery as searches are carried out for Taliban supporters in the mountains. 
10082.06   Asia >  Steve McCurry - The Power of a Single Image 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
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In 1984 the American photojournalist Steve McCurry took a photograph of an Afghan refugee at a camp in Peshawar, Pakistan. Her startling eyes and her expression of apprehension and uncertainty deeply affected those who saw the image and it was widely reprinted - the image led many to ask who the refugee was and what happened to her and this became a quest for Steve McCurry to answer. After nearly two decades he returned with a television team to try and locate her again. He tracked her down and he learnt her name for the first time, Sharbat Gula. The publicity surrounding this led to an outpouring of charitable generosity and Steve McCurry has used the image to promote charitable projects in Asia through the ImagineAsia Foundation with which he is associated.
Here are several versions of the same image - one is the original image, another is the book cover for the book Portraits by Steve McCurry that contains many of his most memorable shots. Another photograph was taken in July 2005 in Seattle (USA) showing a mural that includes the same photograph on the exterior wall of the Kabul restaurant that serves Afghan cuisine. 
10082.07   Asia >  Balazs Gardi: Basetrack One-Eight, Afghanistan (2010-2011) 
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Slideshow (Be patient as this has 19 slides to load.) 
Basetrack One-Eight was an independent, civilian media project, funded by a 2010 News Challenge Grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It embedded journalists, including Balasz Gardi, with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, in the southern deserts of Afghanistan during 2010 and 2011. The project used iPhones and other devices to record photographs, audio and video that was posted on Facebook, Flickr and other social media websites.[2]
The project was closed down by the Marines when some of the postings made on the social media sites were inappropriate and potentially harmful. 
Afghan Box Camera Project 
10082.08   Asia >  Afghan Box Camera Project 
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Slideshow (Be patient as this has 40 slides to load.) 
   Afghan Box Camera Project 
View exhibition 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist

  1. Λ July 12, 1879, The Graphic.
    This illustration has been reprinted in Omar Khan, 2002, From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of Burke and Baker, (Prestel Verlag/Mapin Publishing, 2002). 
  2. Λ Amy Pereira, 2011, Basetrack One-Eight - 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Afghanistan deployment 2010-2011, (Blurb), about the project:
    Basetrack is an experimental media project, tracking the deployment of 1/8– 1st Battalion, Eighth Marines, during their deployment to southern Afghanistan. A small team of mobile media operators embedded with the battalion, transmitting their reports and reflections from Helmand province as they traveled across the battalion’s area of operations.
    Basetrack’s forward team is supported by a network of technologists,analysts, artists, and journalists, working around the clock, from around the world, to connect over a thousand Marines and Corpsmen to their families, and to connect a broader public to the longest war in US history.
    Basetrack is a non-profit initiative, operated by November Eleven, a US-based, 501(c)3 public charity. Basetrack takes an open-source approach to journalism, making its original content freely available for non-commercial use under Creative Commons licensing protocols, and employing open, ubiquitous social media platforms to distribute its reporting, and to engage public participation in the reporting process.


HomeContents > Further research

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General reading 
Birk, Lukas & Foley, Sean, 2013, Afghan Box Camera, (Dewi Lewis Publishing) isbn-13: 978-1907893360 [Δ
Dworzak, Thomas & Anderson, J.L., 2003, Taliban, (Trolley) [Δ
Roemers, Martin, 2003, Kabul, (Legermuseum) [Δ
Readings on, or by, individual photographers 
William Baker 
Khan, Omar, 2002, From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of John Burke and William Baker 1860-1900, (Prestel Publishing) [Δ
John Burke 
Khan, Omar, 2002, From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of John Burke and William Baker 1860-1900, (Prestel Publishing) [Δ
Norfolk, Simon, 2011, Burke & Norfolk: Photographs from the War in Afghanistan by John Burke and Simon Norfolk, (Dewi Lewis Publishing) [Δ
Burke & Baker 
Khan, Omar, 2002, From Kashmir to Kabul: The Photographs of John Burke and William Baker 1860-1900, (Prestel Publishing) [Δ
Tim Hetherington 
Hetherington, Tim, 2010, Infidel, (Chris Boot) isbn-10: 1905712189 isbn-13: 978-1905712182 [Δ
Huffman, Alan, 2013, Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer, (Grove Press) isbn-10: 0802120903 isbn-13: 978-0802120908 [Δ
Simon Norfolk 
Norfolk, Simon, 2011, Burke & Norfolk: Photographs from the War in Afghanistan by John Burke and Simon Norfolk, (Dewi Lewis Publishing) [Δ
Fazal Sheikh 
Sheikh, Fazal, 1998, The Victor Weeps Afghanistan, (Scalo) isbn-10: 3931141950 isbn-13: 978-3931141950 [Δ
Shõmei Tõmatsu 
Tõmatsu, Shõmei, 1968, Salaam Aleikoum. Afghanistan, (Tokyo: Shaken) [Δ
Donovan Wylie 
Wylie, Donovan, 2011, Outposts: Kandahar Province, (Steidl) isbn-10: 3869303212 isbn-13: 978-3869303215 [Δ
If you feel this list is missing a significant book or article please let me know - Alan - 

HomeContentsPhotographers > Photographers worth investigating

William Baker • John Burke  (check) • Burke & Baker • Stephen Dupont  (1967-) • Edward Grazda  (1947-) • Bruce Haley  (1957-) • Ron Haviv • Sean Hemmerle  (1966-) • Tim Hetherington  (1970-2011) • Teru Kuwayama • Catherine Leroy  (1944-2006) • Steve McCurry  (1950-) • Simon Norfolk  (1963-) • Louie Palu  (1968-) • Paul Seawright • Fazal Sheikh  (1965-) • Chris Steele-Perkins  (1947-) • Wilfred Thesiger  (1910-2003) • Donovan Wylie  (1971-) • Zalmai  (1964-)
HomeGeographical regionsAsia > Afghanistan 
A wider gazeRelated topics 
Afghanistan Wars (1979-?) 
Second Afghan War (1878-1880) 
Key dates 
Second Afghan War (1878-1880) 
Afghanistan Wars (1979-?) 

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Afghanistan

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailAfghan Box Camera Project 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (February 1, 2012)
ThumbnailChris Steele-Perkins: An Evolving Retrospective 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (August 30, 2007) Thanks to Chris Steele-Perkins and Magnum Photos for their assistance with this exhibition.
ThumbnailEdward Grazda: Afghanistan, 1992-2004 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (February 1, 2007)
ThumbnailEdward Grazda: With the Mujahideen, Afghanistan, 1982-1989 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Released (January 25, 2007)

HomeVisual indexes > Afghanistan

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan -

ThumbnailJohn Burke: General Roberts and staff inspecting captured guns 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailJohn Burke: Khyber Pass 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailJohn Burke: Portraits 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailSteve McCurry: Afghan Refugee 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailTim Hetherington: Afghanistan 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
ThumbnailWar: Afghanistan Wars (1979-?) 
ThumbnailWar: Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880) 
   Ethnic groups and races 
Refreshed: 16 January 2015, 17:47
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