Kevin Carter was a South African photojournalist. He was a member of the Bang-Bang Club, a quartet of brave photographers who chronicled apartheid-era South Africa, he had seen more than his share of heartbreak. In 1993 he went to Sudan to photograph the events of famine in the area. Exhausted after day of taking pictures in the village of Ayod, he went into an open bush. There he heard whimpering and came across an emaciated toddler who had collapsed on her way to a feeding center. As he took the child’s picture, a vulture landed behind the girl. Carter had been reportedly advised not to touch any victims because of diseases, so instead of helping, he waited for 20 min to see whether the vulture ready to stalk young toddler would fly away. It did not. Carter scared the vulture away and watched as she tried to continue toward the feeding center. He then lit the cigarette, talked to God and wept.
The New York Times published the photo, and readers were eager to find out what happened to the child. Carter was heavily criticized for not coming to the rescue of young girl.
His image became a wrenching study debate on when a photographer should intervene.
Subsequent research seem to reveal that the child survived, yet she died 14 years later due to malaria fever. However, the accounts on whether she survived are heavily disputed.
Carter won a Pulitzer prize for his image, but the darkness of that bright day never went from him. In July 1994 he committed suicide with a note reading; “I’m haunted by the vivid memories of killings, corpses, anger and pain.”