Burke + Norfolk

I’ve just visited a great new photography exhibition at Tate Modern – Burke + Norlfolk ‘Photographs from the War in Afghanistan’.

John Burke was one of the first photographers to visit and document scenes in Afghanistan in the nineteenth century, Simon Norfolk, a contemporary photographer, has responded to Burkes original photographs and redocumented similar scenes in the context of the current conflict.

Norfolk has successfully initiated a collaboration that transcends obvious boundaries such as time and presence. By displaying the photographers works alongside one another, the viewer is able to create a dialogue between photographs and the photographers – bringing both the contemporary and the historical images to life.

The exhibition runs from 6th May – 10th July 2011, and a beautiful catalogue of the exhibition is available in the shops for £40.

John Burke. Scene with ­musicians in the city of Jalalabad, 1878.

Simon Norfolk. A music school in Kabul, where the boys learn the traditional Afghan instrument, the rubab. It is a skill that nearly became ­extinct after the Taliban banned secular music.

Simon Norfolk. Pro-Taliban refugees.

John Burke. Mahomed Tahir Khan, Aslam Khan of Ghazni.

Simon Norfolk. A home made of shipping containers, on the outskirts of Kabul, occupied by workers who cast blast-wall sections in concrete. 

Simon Norfolk. A building in the city of Herat is decked with some of the wedding-cake architecture that is becoming common in Afghanistan, inspired by refugees who spent time in the Gulf states or Pakistan. 

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