Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wanting a Meal (Sudan)

This photo showing a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture won South African photographer, Kevin Carter, the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography. Kevin committed suicide three months winning the award.

Kevin Carter was a member of the Bang-Bang Club, along with three other South African photographers, which photographed images of Apartheid brutality.
In 1984 started working for the Johannesburg
Star bent on exposing the brutality of Apartheid. That same year Carter's first Time cover appeared. Carter was the first to photograph a public execution by "necklacing" in South Africa in the mid-1980s.
He later spoke of the images; "I was appalled at what they were doing. I was appalled at what I was doing. But then people started talking about those pictures... then I felt that maybe my actions hadn't been at all bad. Being a witness to something this horrible wasn't necessarily such a bad thing to do."

In March 1993 Carter made a trip to southern Sudan with intentions of documenting the local rebel movement. However, upon arriving and witnessing the horror of the famine, Carter began to take photographs of starving victims. The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to a young emaciated
Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding center, wherein a seemingly well-fed vulture had landed nearby. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away. However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the little girl.

The photograph was sold to The New York Times,
where it appeared for the first time on 26 Match 1993. Practically overnight hundreds of people contacted the newspaper to ask whether the child had survived, leading the newspaper to run a special editor's note saying the girl had enough strength to walk away from the vulture, but that her ultimate fate was unknown.

He later confided to friends that he wished he had intervened and helped the child. Journalists at the time were supposedly warned never to touch famine victims for fear of disease.

Criticism surrounding his Pulitzer Prize winning photograph and the death of a close friend, Ken Oosterbroek ( a Bang-Bang Club member), who was accidentally shot and killed while covering township violence, may have contributed to Carter's suicide


Anonymous said...

it has never been said that carter chassed the bird away. he simply took the picture and then left.

!conic said...

We cant always know exactly what happened in a situation, we can only use information available to us:

Anonymous said...

It is more cruel to recognize/give the prize for such photo than taking it/documenting the moment.

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