'Afridi Picket near to Jumrood', 1878.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph by John Burke [1845-1900] of a group of irregular soldiers, taken in 1878 and published in the album 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. Afridi was the name for a powerful independent tribe living on the Indian border around the Khyber Pass near Peshawar. These ferocious soldiers are posing in front of a sangar, a small stone fortification common in Afghanistan and Northern India. A pioneer of photography in India, John Burke began working in Peshawar, as an assistant to the commercial photographer William Baker. Baker took up photography on retiring from the British Army in 1861 and Burke himself had worked as an apothecary in the Royal Artillery. When Baker stopped working in 1873 Burke carried on, recording the evolution of the Indian Raj in the late nineteenth century. Burke accompanied the British army on its advance into Afghanistan during the Second Afghan War of 1878-1879.