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The Journalist, the Vulture, and the Child

By April 12, 2006

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The haunting photo of a vulture stalking an emaciated Sudanese girl who'd collapsed on her way to a feeding station won photographer Kevin Carter a Pulitzer Prize in 1994. Carter also become notorious for sticking to the journalistic principle of being an observor and not getting involved -- he left after taking his photo and neither he, nor the New York Times, which first published the photo on 26 March 1993, knew what happened to her. (Looking at the photo, it's hard to imagine a pleasant ending.) A few months later after collecting his Pulitzer, Carter committed suicide, the violence he'd encountered in his life as a journalist, especially in South Africa, becoming too much to live with.

More on Photographer Kevin Carter
Tribute to Kevin Carter by a friend and fellow journalist, Judith Matloff
Time magazine article
• Film made of Carter's life, nominated for a 2006 Academy Award: The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club

Comments

June 13, 2006 at 5:28 pm
(1) mark says:

i remember the picture very well. it haunted me to know what happened next.
i always wondered what happened after taking the picture, now i know.
i was under the impression that maybe after taking the picture that they put a drip on or fed the child but now i know the child was eaten. i still think about it, and it hurts.

June 15, 2006 at 1:20 pm
(2) Daniel says:

And to think that what is found in the trash of the G-8 countries every day would feed the starving of the planet

June 19, 2006 at 6:20 am
(3) kathlene says:

I suppose his need to be a journalist far outweighed his responsibility as a human being. How you could POSSIBLY walk past that child and leave her to die because of your “journalistic principles” is beyond me. I’m willing to bet that the guilt of his nonaction is what led to his suicide. It’s sad.

August 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm
(4) Phyllis Anderson says:

Viewing this picutre has upset me terribly…..I have a sense of drowning in the horrors of what is happening to OUR CHILDREN… I want to help these tiny beings and I don’t know where to start…. I already make my donations to Doctors without Borders…I feel I need to help hands on

March 13, 2008 at 10:48 pm
(5) Eduardo says:

This is a disturbing image and it’s amazing how someone could have (or not have rather) the heart to leave a child to be eaten by the vulture. But what’s even worse, how can they award someone for such an awful act. It’s like prasing Hitler for the holocaust, and on top of that he comits yet another cowardly act, suicide.

June 11, 2008 at 4:46 am
(6) kennedy wagura says:

the photo could have won any journalistic title up for grabs but humanity ought to have ruled supreme inn this case.He knew it and Iam not surprised he took his life away, I am a journalist student in mt kenya university, kenya and if I were Kelvin, the kid would have lived to tell a story1

July 2, 2008 at 10:21 pm
(7) Camille says:

I don’t have any pity for this man and he didn’t deserve the award. He’s a coward, as seen by his selfish actions of leaving the child to die and then later killing himself. I’d feel guilty too if I was party to a child’s death. I wonder how many people he and other photographers have left to die because they’re following an asinine “principle” How disgusting.

July 5, 2008 at 10:28 am
(8) Ryan says:

In part, I agree with most of you. This child died needlessly, and I feel as though Kevin Carter’s internal demons must have pushed him over the edge as he realized that. What I have issue with is how everyone has the audacity to say they would have done something differently. Really? Would you? Here’s the litmus test: what have YOU done lately to help? Have YOU put yourself in danger to spread the awareness globally? Please don’t think that I am condoning Mr. Carter’s actions because in my eyes they are deplorable. My question is how different is his inaction from yours, mine, or anyone’s!?!? If you really want to make a statement, do it with action!

October 6, 2008 at 5:01 pm
(9) malcolm says:

the aim is to take our excuse ‘we did not know’ an throw it in our faces … we all walked away and left this child. But here and now we can not say we did not know but what did we do… ?

October 15, 2008 at 1:28 pm
(10) yersin says:

I recommend you see the documentary. On the other hand, has it ever been proven what happened to the girl? I sympathize with Kevin. I bet he has done more things than we all have to help people.

December 18, 2008 at 2:23 pm
(11) RedneckBob says:

Ryan just took a humongous dump on all of those who are criticizing the photographer. Not only are you all so complacent that giving a can of corn to the local food bank feels like a root canal, but you’re ignoring one major fact: that picture, and his resulting death, have done more to publicize the tragedy in Africa than all of us posters combined. I, for one, praise him for his work and giving is life. A life that has saved an untold number of children.

January 6, 2009 at 11:53 am
(12) lisamarie grosso says:

how dare you people criticize this man for his amazing documentation of the hellish conditions that exist outside of your realm of experience. he saw this and far worse on a daily basis. his work helps bring awareness to spiritually flaccid and complacent, not to mention disgustingly self-righteous “people”, as you are! you betray you pathetic ignorance by your words. yes, perhaps he could have helped this child, carried her to the feeding station (incidentally, he did chased the vulture away). besides wanting to record this horror for all the world to see, journalists of this sort are warned not to touch victims of famine because of the risk of spreading deadly diseases. when was the last time ANY OF YOU comforted a leper? and guess what else people? there were probably a hundred more children just like her within a stone’s throw away. Talk about being overwhelmed by the futility of it all!!!!
do your research before opening your stupid mouths!! we are, ALL OF US, in some way obligated to do do something. we all have some responsibility. stop pointing fingers and change your own lives and your own consciousness!!

February 19, 2009 at 7:11 am
(13) Cassie says:

the girl is so pitiful!sigh.for kevin carter, his journalism principle trumps that of his humanity.tsk2.well but i think he has gotten his punishment.and im sure he regrets it too.

March 31, 2009 at 9:27 am
(14) cameron campbell says:

the thing is, is that the journalist would have seen much worse than this on his journey, this picture simply sums up what is happening over there.

April 5, 2009 at 11:43 am
(15) lmiller says:

I hope the next time I am in trouble and need help a passerby doesn’t just stop to take a picture of me.

April 21, 2009 at 6:51 pm
(16) Luke says:

Dammit people, put yourself in his shoes. The point of journalism is to document REALITY, not fudge with it in hope for the better (which can often lead to unintentional consequences). Yes, he could’ve saved that one child, but what about the thousands of others who are victims of the SAME tragedy? This man saw people being burned alive in South Africa. Should he have done something to save them? In a way, he DID by documenting and spreading the word through his pictures.

No offense, but something that truly irritates me is when people summarize someone’s entire life in two sentences: “He took pictures of terrible things without helping. Then he committed suicide. What a selfish jerk.” There is MUCH MUCH more to a person than this. Hitler is often said to be the most evil man in history. Okay, but does anyone ever ask why? Does anyone ever wonder what causes someone to commit such atrocities or what can be done to prevent them? We should be asking and answering questions besides simply voicing premature opinions.

Okay, there’s my angry rant for the day.

May 11, 2009 at 3:46 am
(17) bettyboop says:

I think that this picture is a horrific one, but one that definitely deserves the Pulitzer prize! I mean a picture says a thousand words right? and this show all the pain an suffering that many people all over the world have to go thorough! It will speak to many people,all over the world!! I hope that more of us can become hands on people, and start to change some of the disturbing and unhumanic things that are going on in our world!!! Lets try to learn from this and start to think of what we can do to help out more darling children that are put into a situation like this one.

June 12, 2009 at 6:02 pm
(18) Matt says:

By this time, it seems like he would not be able to save the child anyway. As the body is substantially thinner than normal (as it has eaten away at the bone and muscle), but the stomach is substantially bigger, his body is probably eating at his organs and such they are detaching and bloating his stomach area.

It truly is a shame that people waste so much.. table scraps, unused food, food to feed farmed animals, etc.

June 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm
(19) dennis moore says:

We see one picture of this and it breaks our hearts. What we don’t see is that this is happening to hundreds of kids at this moment. So Carter could have saved the child. How many more children is he going to save. Is he obligated to save every child that he sees? What about the child that is just as debilitated, but there is no vulture around…is he (are we) obligated to save this child too? No. Famine happens for a number of reasons. It’s happened in the past and it’ll happen in the future. We should let nature take it’s course.

July 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm
(20) SasjoManev says:

I guess he had from within, as a human being, a conscious human soul that lived in his heart as the truth to which he couldnt lie if he believed in the purity of his honesty and care. He was very in line with himself, as a human being, when he did the thing everybody talks about after discovery of the thing.
his suicide was the sacrifice of suffering for life, for human life. For all the things that give form to life, that are in a fragile position and that do not have the physical strength anymore to speak for themselves.

A enormous conscious of human suffering came upon the mind of a man that died by the use of his own hands. His psychological condition couldnt find another door anymore to run to, to justify its own life again. He couldnt lie anymore to himself about the truth that made his heart so damaged…the world he lives(d) in made his heart so damaged. He took responsibility.

His death was pure conscious based, not a coincidence. His death came kinda symbolic with the wilderness of the human jungle about morals and ethics. The men that made the picture died because of the reality he saw from it and developed it as a memory of himself.

The sitting man in a train, watches the photo, reads some, and turns the page around to the next world’s Big Brother happening……urgency…

This man had worldpeace in his heart but what he saw from the real world made his worldpeace a cursed violent thought to think about because his pictures showed so well how ‘aware’ we were about ourselves.

we start searching the blame, the reality of what we hold as our reality in others, guilt in ourselves is never present when everybody speaks its own judge…People that really care for human life, all human life on this world r considered the crazy ones from society and are often misunderstood…
I mean selfindulgance is what society keeps coming back to the violent and sensational nature of the movies, of the cars, of the electronical egoexpanding phones and cameras.
The human is distracted from the truth, from itself…its lost in a world where the image between reality and construction is not so shocking to eachother anymore…..Nowadays we see people as the competition of our potential degradation from who we need to win.
We need to have a good career in life so we can say to our kids ‘learn good like i did son so u dont need to end up like a garbage collector, or a supermarketworker of our society’….I refuse to demoralize human life like society does. If i say, I am a human being. I have emotions, then how can i hurt myself through another person?. Only my body is stuck between myself and the other person, who I, the human being of flesh and blood, pursue as myself.
A person that has a dark skin colour and most of the time lives on the earth of Africa as Kevin Carter saw with his own eyes.

July 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm
(21) Jessica says:

An editors note added to this in the New York times stated that the girl continued her trek to the feeding station and he chased the vulture away. I don’t believe I would have done any differently, it’s very easy to criticise when you are not the one in the situation, however this was a man who spent his working life documenting the horrors of the world, when many have turned a blind eye, he could have saved the one child, but through his work he probably saved thousands.

July 31, 2009 at 8:41 am
(22) Sheryl Benner says:

Perhaps someone should’ve shown this image to the Pope when he visited Africa with his message that people must not use birth control.

August 12, 2009 at 4:19 pm
(23) Paul says:

I lived in Kenya, and they can’t afford birth control. And if they could, the tribe is still more important than anything else. Have kids to strengthen the tribe. It is almost universally ingrained. Also, Kenya (and many other African countries) have laws now that basically make it impossible for families to adopt orphans. Evil governments make more kids die than have to. I had to bring my son back to Mother Teresa’s after a 6 month adoption process because the Kenyan laws changed. He was ripped from us, and he took up a bed that could have been used by another baby that was thrown away.

August 13, 2009 at 8:31 am
(24) truth says:

The photographer did not commit suicide because of guilt. He attempted suicide before and had other personal problems of debt, child support and a chain of personal failures. His true success he thought was this picture but was now scorned by society as being the epitome of heartless white South Africa.

September 14, 2009 at 2:01 am
(25) Erik says:

It is important to remember that journalism and observing and all those words does not change the fact that this was only one child dying – there are hundreds of thousands of other children just as bad as this. He couldn’t possibly have saved them all. What he did instead, taking a photograph and starting a discussion simply made us aware of the problem, which might have saved hundreds, maybe thousands of children. So please. Don’t be hasty to judgement, walk the mile in his shoes.

October 15, 2009 at 9:50 am
(26) Jeff in Australia says:

Maybe, just maybe, she survived. Maybe, he did the compassionate thing by letting her die.
Would heaven not be better than that hell?
The Next time you get excited about a space shuttle mission, ask your self why do we spend billions of dollars to send toys into space when we can’t feed our own race? The cost far outweighs the (if any) benefits. Now that is a criminal act.
Sick race aren’t we!

October 16, 2009 at 12:32 am
(27) Ame says:

It is such a cheap way out to push your feelings of anguish over the photo by punishing the photographer. Ever heard the phrase shooting the messenger?? He wasn’t the one starving that child. Do you know anything about Sudan or the politics there? Have you ever been a journalist?? Or are you just making yourself feel better by getting angry at the person telling you the story? Why did none of the aid workers at the station come to the child’s aid? What about the child’s government? Stop criticizing the photographer – unless you plan on doing something about the Sudanese turmoil yourself, instead of alleviating your guilt feelings and your sense of smugness about what YOU would have done in the same situation – try being there and then we can talk. Otherwise just SHUT UP!

October 27, 2009 at 8:52 am
(28) Collins says:

I used to hear the story and until know when have seen the photo, thats when have known that people mostly looks at what will benefit them. i assume that the child died, and God to her to heaven, the journalist committed suicide went to hell, who is the winner here???

November 9, 2009 at 4:36 am
(29) cold says:

After the picture I would have at least carried the child to the feeding station…..

I remember reading that the photographer waited A VERY LONG TIME to align the vulture & the child this way…..That fact alone is inhuman!!!! He had a lot of time to think!! and yet he didn’t budge!!!

FINE! take the pic!! but do something after!!!!! like…hummm…save your soul??!!

November 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm
(30) Ras says:

Well some say he is good and some say bad. I’m not saying anything judgmental but I’ll just ask a question. What would you do if you were in his place? would you just take a picture and leave her alone? or would you sacrifice your work to help that poor girl? I don’t think it should be only one of the above since both or none are options too. But what would you do if God was standing right next to you watching? that’s the real litmus test, because in reality God is watching us every second. Now for those of you who want to judge judge yourselves from this point of view and reach upon your conclusions. The lesson of this incident is that we are all connected and whatever you do will come back to you.
P:S Those people justifying his work because of his profession, come on be real. How would you feel that girl was your daughter or that she was white? It’s easy to say this and that when you’re just looking at someone who you don’t know. Relate yourself to her then you shall make the right judgment. The golden rule should always be applied in life regardless of race,gender, place or time.

January 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm
(31) fiona says:

i simpathize with him,because if he helped that little girl,he would have to help and feed everybody else who is starving in the world.so, instead he took a picture published it,and now people know what was happening in darfur.sometimes you have to look at things at other perspectives.although instead of commiting suicide,he should have used his money and fame,to help those in africa.but now we know what is STILL happening in parts of the world,so are we going to sit and critisize kevin carter,or are we gonna stand up,and DO what we say he should have done?

January 9, 2010 at 3:27 am
(32) Ashton says:

the people in the politics are wearing suits and ties, living comfortably in air-condition rooms while the poor girl doesn’t even have a piece of cloth to shed her body from rain and shine. NOTHING, i say nothing, compares to death. WE, all of us looking at this damn photo, MUST do something to help the less fortunate. Don’t blame kevin carter, dun blame the government, dun even blame the vulture. The world is unfair, some might say, deal with it, but does that mean that we should do absolutely nothing about it? NO! fiona is right : “are we going to sit and critisize kevin carter,or are we gonna stand up,and DO what we say he should have done?”

January 21, 2010 at 9:12 am
(33) Lauren says:

I cannot begin to fathom how someone could come across this scene, photograph it and then leave, no matter how seemingly hopeless the situation is. It is just completely unbelievable how a journalist could value his “journalistic principles” higher than a human life. I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that this man, this human being, if you could even call him that, could walk away without even an attempt to help her in any way, knowing that if he did, that child would die. It makes me physically sick. “Disgusting” does not even begin to describe it.

January 27, 2010 at 7:55 am
(34) Kokyuryoku says:

I guess ignorance really is bliss. I really wish people would think before posting.

Lauren, in fact everyone “Please read comment 21″.

He didn’t leave the girl to die. Just to the right of the girl, her mother and other people were standing in line for a food station. After he shot the photo, he chased the vulture away and watched the girl get up and walk towards her mother who then picked her up. What did he do wrong?

January 27, 2010 at 8:32 pm
(35) Jessnutt says:

I think I understand Carter. the picture is incredibly moving and is the ultimate image of hunger, truly a tragedy. However, I think that firstly, the girl’s parents were at that very moment receiving food, which would have made it back to their child; secondly, the photographer did chase away the vulture; and thirdly, as heart-wrenching as this is, it was not the photographer’s responsibility, place, nor right to intervene. Before I receive several angry replies screaming about what a heartless wench i am, let me explain what my point of view is, and what I suppose the photographer’s was at the time.

The girl’s parents were alive and present, nearby collecting food, and the girl was also on her way to the food station – she stopped to rest in this photograph. To jump in in her parents’ place is just not appropriate: imagine an authority figure swooping down and seizing your child, saying that you are incapable of helping her, and thus remove her from you, when she and you are in the very process of getting aid in any case. In this situation though, I agree, circumstances were perhaps dire enough to override even this argument. This is where the second argument comes in. Photojournalists were “told not to touch famine victims for fear of spreading disease.” (Cinders. 2009. “Kevin Carter: The Consequences of Photojournalism. http://www.fanpop.com/spots/photography/articles/2845/title/kevin-carter-consequences-photojournalism ) Furthermore, she was on her way to the UN food aid center, and Carter later reported that she was successful in her journey there. What more could he have done, really, than give her something to eat, which she achieved regardless?

Finally, I would like to mention that Carter clearly did have a heart when he chose to commit suicide. Not only was the metaphorical feasting of the media on his apparent choice to ignore the girl’s fate a factor in his depression, but he had been chronicling violence, death, and fear in the area for years. Days before his suicide, a close friend of his was killed in a conflict and another seriously wounded. (Cinders 2009) This man was something of a tortured soul, I think.

All that being said, I whole-heartedly agree that this photograph is terrible and terrifying. It indicates that the hunger felt in some areas of the world is truly awful, and this image alone could inspire tears. Despite the trash talk about Kevin Carter, I think that, as twisted as this (and the world) is, almost the best way to help her – and the millions more worldwide – was really just to take the picture, show the world her suffering, and move people as it has moved you and me: these are the things that inspire action.

April 25, 2010 at 6:51 am
(36) Heart-melted Singaporean says:

Hi, i’m just a 13 year old student in Singapore.

Well, I’m doing a mini-report on this article and I feel:

Yes, without doubt, this photo has brought Africa to greater heights, brought attention to Africa, brought Africa to see its better day.

But, it is still wrong on the photographer’s part. C’mon, its natural reaction. If you see someone falling down, you help him. If you see someone dying, you help him. If that guy seriously needs the picture, just take it. Then help the girl!

May 19, 2010 at 9:40 am
(37) NATHAN says:

I THINK VERYONE SHOULD BE THANKFUL
FOR ALL THE BLESSINGS
AND BE MORE CONTENTED OF WHAT WE HAVE
NOT CONCENTRATING ON WE DONT
:(

May 20, 2010 at 11:45 am
(38) Ryan says:

Look all of you have valid points but if u click on the link on comment 35 and read it says and i quote “Carter estimated that there were twenty people per hour dying at the food center.” Now i ask you all would you put your own life at risk just to save the life of one or would you take the picture and let the world know excatly what a sick world we live in. all i can say is rest in peace Kevin Carter!!!

May 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm
(39) josh says:

Why not help the kid out instead of taking a picture?The things people do for fame

July 4, 2010 at 4:47 pm
(40) david says:

There was a man walking on the beach and as the tide went out there thousands of starfish stranded. He noticed a child throwing them as far as he could into the water and told him that it was useless to help because there were so many. The child ignored and he yelled again “you can’t save them all and one will not make a difference.” “The child responded, as he threw another, “I just made a difference for that one.” It is ok even commendable to help others. God Bless

July 25, 2010 at 12:17 am
(41) amit says:

yes, the story is tragic but i showed this picture to my child. since then he never leaves anything in his plat, always careful to avoid wasting food as plenty of people are without it.

August 4, 2010 at 9:09 pm
(42) KAte says:

He Did do something. He got everyone to talk about this child and the situation. Without this photo, who would care?

August 5, 2010 at 4:54 am
(43) Dr Muhsen says:

this is too hear-breaking photo…Prophet Mohammad narrates in Hadith; “Allah helps a slave (vassal) until he/she continues to help his/her brother/sister” brother/sister mean human must help with human being.

September 17, 2010 at 12:04 am
(44) lyd says:

Look at comment 36. This person is 13. 13, people and they know. Take the photo. Show the world what is going on. THEN! Take that child and show her some mercy. Give her water, give her love. Would she still have probably died? Yes. Think about it. How would you rather have die? Being eaten by some animal or by being held by someone who wants, totally wants to help you even if the only thing they can do for you is to hold you while you pass. Kevin Carter sold his soul to the devil. Plain and simple.

Can you imagine how much attention it would have got for not only the Sudanese people but for all the countries out there with so much poverty, hunger, war, etc. Most people think, “Well there are 20 dying every minute, what good can I really do?” Kevin had the chance to show what 1 person could do. Even, even if the little girl did die. He would have done so, so much not only for the little girl, but for all of Africa. To show, that we should live and love with compassion and understanding. And especially with children, you do what you can and more to help those who can not help themselves. He had a human responsibility to help that little girl and he didnt. Plain and simple. He didn’t do anything to help her. He helped others by HER photo, but he did not help HER!

It does make me feel bad that he committed suicide. Just like others have said, that was also a cowardly act. But once again he only thought of himself. He probably left behind grieving family and friends and he could only think about himself. Again.

September 30, 2010 at 8:20 pm
(45) Lisa says:

I think this picture is crazy! How you even do that especially if you look at it as if that could have been you daughter, niece or even wife in that position and he just took a picture to souviner it? You have to be seriously kidding me! That was a serious heart ache to me. What is this world coming to?

October 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm
(46) RP says:

Do you see that child? Had Kevin Carter picked her up and run 15 miles to…somewhere that MAY have been able to help her do you really think she would have survived? Instead, he captured this awful moment so that all of you (who sit there in judgement) could understand the feeling of loss and remorse he felt at the sight of this little girl. I would argue that more money was raised to feed starving children because of this one photograph than all charity drives combined. The picture is horrific. It’s supposed to be horrific. But, how many children (who would have starved to death) were saved by the outcry over this picture? How many children (who WOULD HAVE starved to death) were saved due to the funds raised because of this picture?
The picture is awful. It’s supposed to be awful. It IS awful. God rest his soul.

October 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm
(47) Precious says:

A Spanish Television called Cuatro investigated the photo and they came across that; “It’s a FAKE picture.” You see how cruel the world is? You see what a human being can do just to get famous? Do you now understand why Kevin Carter committed a suicide? It’s a shame! How can Journalists ‘who are suppose to tell us the truth,’ lie to us? To an extent of manipulating a photo… It’s a pity, only God will forgive you Carter!

October 26, 2010 at 2:01 am
(48) Rita-Bella Hagler says:

This is ridiculous, the picture was shown to tell a story, he took the picture to show us what is happening in the world. And then he DID chase the vulture away. He committed suicide a year later because of money issues.

We should be praising him, he took this picture and showed the world the issue.

November 23, 2010 at 12:08 am
(49) Blah says:

So sad that something like that could happen

November 28, 2010 at 11:29 pm
(50) hjaep says:

Do some research. The girl was not eaten! They (people on the spot) chased the vulture away!

And please save that forged sympathy. The guy was a photographer who mainly worked in war-torn, violent-prone and impoverished areas. How was he supposed to save every refugee he met? Do people just realize there are probably hundreds of millions of victims? At least he had conscience and took his own life. Unlike us…still sitting on our asses crying foul.

Last but not least, do your damn homework before commentating. Stop being so lazy and kneejerk thinking.

December 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm
(51) johnnydee says:

I find it supremely ironic that a picture exemplifying the horrifying condition of the world and touching hearts so deeply arises from the tragic loss of one mans humanity as he refuses to engage in life but remains an isolated observer. Arguments about what anyone else would have done, or the impact of the photo itself are irrelevant, this is what happened, this is what was done. The man betrayed his own humanity, as we all do and will do in some way or have done in some fashion…., and his only redemptive act was of course to obliterate the self by the only means he felt he had. As for those who excuse him and decry his detractors as somehow a part and parcel to his failure at maintaining his grip upon humanity, thats pretty funny. The picture won an award, your hearts have been touched…yet what has changed? We are all sitting here in our chairs and the vultures feed as they will.

January 12, 2011 at 12:21 am
(52) Riccio says:

All of you people criticizing the photographer are completely ignorant of what it takes to be a journalist. One must strive towards objectivity and remain an outsider. When you involve yourself as an insider, you distort truth and reality. What ensues is no longer journalism, but pure fiction. What Carter did was what he should have done.

Morality is relative. If you start to inject it into your work, than where does it end? Where is the line drawn — if at all? Hitler believed what he was doing was right. Islamic suicide bombers believe what they’re doing is right. Abortion clinic bombers believe they are right. You can’t go by morality in every decision. So you all need to stop judging him by your own moral standards. Morality has no place for rational, scientific, and journalistic thinking. When a journalist tries to push their morals through their subjects, they are tarnishing the real picture. In this case, how can their work ever make an impact if it’s fabricated?

Carter’s photograph did more for the betterment of humanity that what would have ensued if he helped that child. It helped raise awareness on what was going on Africa, and stimulated much aid and volunteers for the continent. More children were saved than just one as a result. Plus, like others have said, he did not know what kind of diseases she had, or how fragile she was. What if he took her to a hospital and facilitated the spread of an illness that went on to kill dozens? What if he picked her up and crushed some organs or bones and killed her?

It’s easy to sit back in front of you computers, in the comfort of you residence, and judge. Try actually going out in the real world. It’s not that simple.

January 28, 2011 at 10:53 am
(53) Some One says:

The joke on you people. Kevin Carter managed to show everyone that we can help. by isolating ONE child amongst THOUSANDS for us to see we could help if we really wanted.

But when one comes to realize how many children are in the same situation, how harsh are conditions there, then nobody does a thing, only talks their anger against the photographer.

I tell you this: Save money, catch a plane, commute to a train, bus, car, camel and walk to get to where war is taking place (right now), there you will find many more children in the same situation who need your help.

It goes way beyond chasing a vulture away from a dying child (which Carter actually did). By the end of one day you will have realized that no matter how much you do, still many won´t make it.

Then you can think of all the people who, from the comfort of their homes, had blamed a man for doing what he could to show the world whats going on, when it´s clear that the world would prefer not to see it.

And i blame everyone who gets angry at that and yet doesn´t do a thing to help, it´s easy to say you would have helped that child, but how to explain you are not helping the other children who are facing the same destiny right now?

March 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm
(54) Analise says:

All of you obviously don’t know anything about this man. He was told not to touch any of these children for fear that they would contract an opportunistic disease due to their weakened immune systems, which [news flash] Kevin Carter did not cause. Meaning, if he had picked up this child, it could have died.

He took this photograph, chased the vulture away, sat down, and cried. He was obviously not happy with the situation. But by taking the photo he allowed the world to see the atrocities that he saw, causing donations and help for Africa to rise drastically.

Really, the tragedy of it all is that all the people like you blaming him for these conditions are what caused him to kill himself.

YOU should be ashamed.

March 23, 2011 at 8:15 am
(55) To do Nothing... says:

I’m Sorry Analise but “for fear that they would contract an opportunistic disease” and “if he had picked up this child, it could have died” against certain death doesn’t quite cut it for me. That’s just a lot of ifs and could s and fears.

hjaep chasing the vulture away is not saving the girl it’s just dealing the inevitable.

And Ricco, journalists are 1st of all human beings. So forgive me if I do not accept your Journalistic ethics. And as for “It’s easy to sit back in front of you computers, in the comfort of you residence, and judge. Try actually going out in the real world. It’s not that simple.” I guess that if I would go out and just take photos, well I wouldn’t be doing any real changes in the world.

I do not blame him though, It clear that guilt as taken it’s toll and led him to commit suicide.

Kevin Carter was a Human and like all of us he did a mistake. one that lead him to end his life. I find this really sad. Just one simple gesture from him would have save this kids life and ultimately his. Us bickering about it does not serve any purpose.

We should take this example and strive to do everything we can to help even if it’s a small act.

April 4, 2011 at 12:05 am
(56) Jake says:

problem with this description is that Mr. Carter didn’t just leave, he chased the vulture away before crying under a tree. The child resumed its trek to the feeding station and probably made it.

April 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm
(57) Zeeshan Salah ud din says:

hi First of all its very disturbing oh GOD
Mr cater u ashamed at the rest of the World

i am saying to all nations
plz plz plz save the humanities what ever nation they have its nothing matter

June 28, 2011 at 6:20 am
(58) Charl-Louis says:

It is a great photo that displays a terrible picture with terrible consequences.
But it needed to be taken so that those who doesn’t live in Africa and don’t understand the harsh reality of day to day life in Africa. These things happen in Africa everyday maybe not famine but racial murders, tribal exsiccations and the continues persecution of white farmers. About the picture Kevin Carter was with a accompanied by his friend and photographer João Silva (who was both part of the bang bang club) they were also accompanied by the UN on these expeditions.
I for one think the child had passed away due to the severity of malnutrition.
This is a brilliant shot and tells our story; the story that everyone wants to ignore

July 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm
(59) John says:

Even if some people wanted to help out in a country of starving people and children it will make it almost impossible due to the terrorism and violence that is going on in our world today taking food to help starving countries is a big risk in itself because we are American’s or allies to America

July 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm
(60) iain says:

dear colin. that is the most pointless comment i have had to endure, however brief, in as long as i can remember.

July 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm
(61) Katie M says:

You must not be overwhelmed by the sadness and outrage this photo brings at first glance, yes it is extremely disturbing and utterly unthinkable that this actually occurs in the world we live in today. However do not be consumed by bias and what the majority are led to believe. It is also stated that the child’s parents were close by and collecting food from an UN aid plane while Kevin took this photo therefore he didn’t leave the child in immediate danger or to die. Of course I do not know the full facts no one does but remember there are two sides to every story before you come so hastily to your conclusions.

September 7, 2011 at 3:23 am
(62) salmah hamid - s'pore says:

for years i hv kept this pic and reading once awhile to remind me of the situation in sudan and other
countries which are in same boat…

this picture tell the predicament and situation in Darfur at that time., all i can is it has served the right to come forward to help those in need. as for
kevin no one has right to condemn this man – if he
is a coward he wld not be at “that” place at that time
so please think like a human being before saying anything…

September 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm
(63) Jj says:

How can you people ever help when you’re even too lazy to scroll up and read what everyone else has to say. (Why do I bother? I bet nobody will scroll up to see this message anyway.)

September 28, 2011 at 6:00 am
(64) Lebo says:

What he did was inhumane, but people are quick to judge.Sitting on your expensive sofa’s half across the world where you have never had to face that kind of situation let alone survive it. You pick up a newspaper and then criticise the journalist for what he did, yet you know nothing of poverty. If you saw the picture and did nothing about it, you are as guilty as Kevin Carter was. In other words you became aware of the crisis but you did not attempt to change anything. It’s hypocritical to say the least.

October 4, 2011 at 10:48 am
(65) KATHERINE says:

i cant imagine how a photo journalist like kevin who was suppose to be a human like anybody else could do such thing like this. what a less hearted human you are.

October 7, 2011 at 11:19 am
(66) Quincy says:

I read all the comments, and some persons left some really good points in defense of the photographer and also in defense of the child. I can speak for myself, that in my little corner in the world and in my little circle, i make a difference. As little as feeding the vagrants and chatting with them as human beings, because they are etc. So my two cents is that i have been in similar situations and as much as i am not badgering Mr. Carter (because he is dead anyway), if i was placed in that particular situation, i would’ve at least taken that child and try to save that child. It is always better to try and fail than fail to try. If i had contracted a terminal disease from the child, or something terrible had happened to me, on my suffering bed of affliction i would feel satisfied that at least i did something. Some of us live our entire lives and never help one another, and the real fact is many children around the world have died similarly or will die a horrible death, but you can’t save them all. So if it means just one, just one to make a difference, i would’ve done it. The fact is if Mr. Carter at least tried to save that child, he would’ve gotten even more recognition and he may even still be alive for that matter, because he may have experienced terrible things before, but by helping this child could’ve given him some level of peace inside of him.

October 14, 2011 at 12:54 am
(67) telong t says:

@ lisamarie grosso, u are very ignorant miss, there no sickness nor disease that is suppose to stop anyone from saving a lil girl that is about to be eating by a vulture. you want to know why he killed himself?

because he had a daughter and he thaught about it and said to himself, what if it was my daughter? thats why he killed himself, thats why everyone is angry ok?
what if it was your child?

October 14, 2011 at 1:00 am
(68) raj says:

@telong t You’re the ignoramus. Do some basic research on how aid agencies can’t and don’t “rescue” everyone, that extreme cases of starvation are put to one side and left to die. The issues no-one’s addressing are overpopulation, people having children they can’t care for, reliance on aid and perpetual hand-outs.

November 15, 2011 at 3:15 am
(69) heartbroken at this photo says:

why should trophies be awarded for such photos! use the time and money towards changing such a horrific situation instead!

November 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm
(70) can't imagine the horror says:

I will not pretend to have the knowledge to determine whether Kevin Carter is a hero or a coward. I do know that this picture brings a HORRIBLE situation to light. It helps millions of people to see the individual suffering. Sometimes the figures are overwhelming — millions starving to death in Africa today due to famine. This picture was taken in Sudan in the early 1990s and it still is enlightening us about the situation. That cannot be all bad. However, my concern is that Kevin Carter was ecstatic when he won the award. He wrote about being excited that he received the most applause for it. Again, I will not assume to know why that excited him. Perhaps it was because he was happy that many were so moved by the photo. But it may be that he was just selfishly proud of the photo. What I do know is that whatever his fate is between him and his Lord — our of our hands. Our decision is COMPLETELY within our control: WHAT WILL WE DO TO ALLEVIATE SUCH PAIN AND SUFFERING????? I know that I’ve been moved to donate even more than I usually do to famine relief. Even so, it gnaws at my soul that I have been so blessed.

November 23, 2011 at 11:31 pm
(71) JL says:

Kevin Carter did not simply take this picture for the fame, as many people here are suggesting. His trip to Sudan was photojournalistic in nature- the purpose of his being there was to take pictures.

As a photographer, I can sympathize with the set up. He waited for his shot, took it, and then chased away the vulture. As painful as it is to look at, the picture very clearly demonstrates the issues that surrounded Sudan at the time [ultimately, the entire purpose of photojournalism].

Many people are also suggesting that Carter killed himself as a result of this picture. While the picture did greatly impact Carter, his death was not directly related to the picture. Many, many more issues surrounded his life that led ti his suicide.

This picture is a prime example of photojournalism. While its incredibly hard to look at and understand, that is the point. Photography creates immense emotions that are meant to impact the viewer, and Carter more than achieves this. The picture does exactly what it is meant to- raise awareness and create discussion.

November 28, 2011 at 6:52 am
(72) gellou says:

….i just know why!!
but it doesnt says that the child beeb eaten mistaken!!!
i could be mistake but i would prefer that if i were the journalist i would help the child……
thats a life…
we should save AFRICANS……….
even though they are apparently placed in a poor country!!
so which would you prefer
*help AFRICANS
*stamp their right??

February 23, 2012 at 10:32 am
(73) Prasad S Joshi says:

From Wikipedia — Two Spanish photographers who were in the same area at that time, José María Luis Arenzana and Luis Davilla, without knowing the photograph of Kevin Carter, took a picture in a similar situation. As recounted on several occasions, it was a feeding center, and the vultures came from a manure pit waste:
“We took him and Pepe Arenzana to Ayod, where most of the time were in a feeding center where locals go. At one end of the enclosure, was a dump where waste and was pulling people to defecate. As these children are so weak and malnourished they are going head giving the impression that they are dead. As part of the fauna there are vultures go for these remains. So if you grab a telephoto crush the child’s perspective in the foreground and background and it seems that the vultures will eat it, but that’s an absolute hoax, perhaps the animal is 20 meters.”

March 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm
(74) tian says:

There is another version of the picture’s story:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Carter#Alternative_account_of_the_photograph

Not as bad as the story the picture tells out of context. I choose to believe this!

April 9, 2012 at 5:32 am
(75) green says:

the pictures that he took, arose our feeling ..that created too many mixed emotions,,, and we suddenly had the urged feeling of making a change.. it only needs one man to start..and it could be you.. thhis story is very true and horrible,,that after i watched and learn about it,,, i felt embarassed by tthe way the people around me and around the world are acting, when they have so many things to be thankful of, they have foods to eat, home, family, friends, yet uncontented, people around the world taking evrything they have for granted, !! shame for us,

August 17, 2012 at 7:15 am
(76) Spencer says:

What makes the rest of us less guilty, knowing multitudes are dying without food and does nothing to help?

August 22, 2012 at 2:56 am
(77) Aimee says:

I don’t agree that he was wrong in taking the photo; put yourself in his position, The UN just dropped you off in a feeding camp and told you- you have 30 minutes before you’re leaving- You are a very poor photographer who cannot even afford your own rent, You have no means to save this child, as it is illegal to just put someone on an airplane from another country and bring them to the US, and the only thing you can think of to do is to take a photograph so the world can see what is happening first hand and maybe decide to step in and help these children. He wanted everyone to see and be made uncomfortable by the truth- so in turn we as a whole might see it necessary to step in and provide some relief. After he took the photo’s, he chased the bird away, and he later took his own life, and in his suicide note he said he was ‘haunted by the images of starving children and violence’.

December 11, 2012 at 3:19 am
(78) michalgradon says:

first of all – not sure how he could help, there were thousands around probably who needed a help. and others who could help. but seriously, how? what would YOU do?? second thing – I believe the story that the parents (or some family) were just near collecting food from a plane. don’t judge and don’t blame. it happens still and hey, you’re browsing Internet.

January 28, 2013 at 6:33 pm
(79) Pete says:

i heard somewhere that after taking the shot he chased off the vulture, but what happened to the child? It would seem that death would be kind.

I think of this everytime I want to whine about some petty thing that happened to me. I and probably you are soooooo lucky. Be kind to all others some look fine but inside this might be going on.

March 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm
(80) Eponine says:

I know that the Sudan government should be the culprit.
But to make a government turn around would be much harder and slower. You don’t even know where the negotiation should start.
However, at least the photographer can save one more life in less than half an hour. That’s all I get from his tale.

April 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm
(81) Pawan kumar batra says:

If we look all around us,things are not very different in the third worl
Countries,I am an indian.truely speaking most of us are living in our
Own created cocoons.
Whatever nowadays is going all around the world be the henious crimes
Of the new delhi rape,or the kids being
Killed in norway or the us,even the
Gods must be repenting after creating
Human beings. !

September 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm
(82) Deborah Leader says:

I recently watched the movie “The Bang Bang Club” and am now haunted by this photograph and the memory of Kevin Carter. Although we all would like to think that we would have helped that little girl, we can never walk in Kevin’s shoes; we weren’t there. I’m sure that he is taking photographs of angels now and is no longer tormented by the reality of civil war.

March 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm
(83) The Atheist says:

It’s important to note that not only did the child live, Kevin Carter could do no more than take the picture.

The photo was taken not far from a refugee camp, at which the family arrived and the boy did not die of starvation. I believe he died as a teenager, however.

Carter wasn’t tormented by guilt about this photo – it got the point across that kids were dying, and what killed him was almost certainly the fact that nobody really cared that much, which is why so many are still dying.

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