Why Didn’t the Photographer Save the Baby from “the Vulture and the Girl” Photo?

Kevin Carter, a 33-year-old South African photographer, created a series of photo essays titled “Famine in Sudan” in the spring of 1993. It was incredibly hard work – to photograph the dead and still alive, but already doomed to starvation people. Pass all this through your soul and conscience. And continue to tell the world about the trouble.

His photographs attracted the attention of the world community to the problem, fundraising began, and … harassment of the photographer. How could you “just” observe, “coldly” take pictures, instead of taking and helping?

!The scandal came to a head when, in early 1994, Carter was given the Pulitzer Prize for perhaps the most dramatic shot in his Vulture and Girl series.

Two months later, the author of the picture laid his hands on himself. But are those who looked at his pictures sitting at home on the couch, warm and full, entitled to judge him? After all, it seems that not only the horrors experienced by Kevin were to blame for the fact that he committed suicide.

It’s scary to even think what would have happened if social networks had already existed in those years?! It seems that the haters would have tried to prevent Carter not only from living up to the award and recognition but also from reaching home.

As for the history of this picture and that child. In the early spring of 1993, Kevin, as a military photojournalist, joined the United Nations’ Lifeline for Sudan project. There was a civil war going on, people were suffering from hunger. Carter was warned that he had no right to interfere in what was happening, his task was to shoot, although it was very difficult!

In the village where the volunteers distributed food, terrible unsanitary conditions, and blatant poverty reigned. He noticed a child lying on the ground in a fetal position, which was ambushed by a vulture. It’s hard to say why Kevin thought it was a girl. The photographer took a picture and drove the bird away. This is the maximum that he could do for this child.

In addition to mentioning the conditions under which he was accepted into the mission, let’s say the following in defense of the photographer: that child did not remain without help, but it was the task of other people. If you look closely at the baby, you can see a plastic bracelet on his arm, and on it is the marking of the UN mission: “T3”, where the letter “T” means “severe malnutrition”, and “3” is the feeding procedure for a registered malnourished person at a food station.

Following Carter’s death, volunteers working in that area discovered that the girl in Carter’s photograph was actually a boy called Kong Nyong. The youngster then survived the photographer for 14 years before dying of a fever. In conclusion, and in remembrance of Kevin Carter, I would like to suggest that we add one more commandment to God’s ten commandments today: “Do not eat each other!”

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