Cogitating A Photograph: A Girl and A Vulture

by Kevin Carter

What is it like when you know someone’s time is coming and you could see death waiting to strike its prey like an indiscreet but unstoppable thief? Would you do something to save death’s victim, or would you just stand there, observe how death strikes and later on be overcome by grief and guilt because you did nothing at all to help? Kevin Carter did the latter. He took a snapshot of this emaciated Sudanese girl who was struggling to survive while an eager vulture waits to devour on what would be her corpse. To get this poignant photograph, Kevin had to wait twenty minutes for the perfect moment to take the photograph, but he spent no second to help the poor dying girl. This remarkable and evocative photograph epitomized the despair in Africa during the Sudan famine and won the Pulitzer Prize for Kevin Carter in 1994. Unfortunately, he did not take pleasure in his prestigious award. Consumed by guilt and misery, the renowned photographer committed suicide three months after he was given the recognition. What is it like when you know someone’s time is coming and you could see death waiting to strike its prey like an indiscreet but unstoppable thief? For Kevin Carter, it’s was like meeting death itself. This time, death wasn’t preying on a helpless victim; it was preying on him.

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2 thoughts on “Cogitating A Photograph: A Girl and A Vulture

  1. Damn, that sucks. As someone who has seen circumstances like this, in Sudan and in other countries, I have to say that Kevin should have been absolutely ashamed of himself. As a photographer, you need to know when to draw the line, when humanity comes before photography and money …I guess thats why what happened …happened. Killing himself, no, not that far, but a human life is worth more than a photo. People need to take responsibility for their actions, even when no one but yourself knows. He should have helped…
    Good post,
    John

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