'Jellallabad [sic] Main Street', c 1878.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph by John Burke [1845-1900] of the main street in the town of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, taken in about 1878 and published in the album 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. Crowds of Afghans gather on either side of this market street watching the photographer. Jalabad sits 150km east of Kabul. The capital of Nangarhar Province, it dominates the entrances to the Laghman and Kunar valleys and has long been an important trading centre. 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.