Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Afghanistan in Photographs

A research guide for photography in Afghanistan from the Criss Library Archives & Special Collections

History of Photography in Afghanistan


Habibullah Khan was the Emir of Afghanistan from 1901 until his assassination in 1919. He was born in Tashkent, the eldest son of the Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, whom he succeeded by right of primogeniture in October 1901.

Photography gained popularity during the reign of Amir Habibullah. The Amir had a keen interest in photography, established a Royal Studio inside the palace. Public photo studios emerged along the banks of the Kabul River at that time. Most photographers were Afghans and Indians. Among the best known photographers were Amir's eldest son, Sardar Enayatullah and Mahmud Beg Tarzi, the editor of Seraj al-AkhbarTarzi began a photo competition in Seraj al-Akhbar newspaper.

Recommended Books from the Arthur Paul Afghanistan Collection