Simon Norfolk + John Burke
Photographs from the war in Afghanistan
In October 2010, Simon Norfolk began a series of new photographs in Afghanistan, which takes its cue from the work of nineteenth-century British photographer John Burke. Norfolk’s photographs reimagine or respond to Burke’s Afghan war scenes in the context of the contemporary conflict. Conceived as a collaborative project with Burke across time, this new body of work is presented alongside Burke’s original portfolios. The exhibition takes place in conjunction with an earlier complementary exhibition in March 2011 at the Queen’s Palace in the Baghe Babur garden in Kabul, supported by The World Collections Programme and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, which resulted from a series of workshops with Afghan photographers, featuring work by Fardin Waezi and Burke alongside Norfolk’s own work.
John Burke (1843?-1900) was the first ever photographer to make pictures in Afghanistan. He accompanied British forces during the invasion that became the Second Anglo-Afghan War from 1878-1880 producing a small number of albums of prints for sale to the general public. These were sold through his studios in Rawalpindi, Peshawar and the summertime mountain retreat of Murree in a region which is now Pakistan but at the time was the borderlands of British Imperial India.