'The Amir's Highlanders', 1879.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph of Afghan soldiers dressed in kilts, taken by John Burke [1845-1900]in 1879. This photograph is from an album entitled 'The Afghan War, Attogk to Jellalabad, Gandamak and Surkhab'. The Afghans were very impressed with the ferocity and fighting skills of the British Highland regiments. In imitation, Afghan troops were dressed in kilts in an attempt to instil them with similiar martial qualities. 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.