The vulture and the little girl

By RHP | Posted on: December 24, 2013 | Updated on: June 17, 2016
The vulture and the little girl, 1993. Original title: Struggling Girl.

The vulture and the little girl, 1993. Original title: Struggling Girl.

The vulture is waiting for the girl to die and to eat her. The photograph was taken by South African photojournalist, Kevin Carter, while on assignment to Sudan. He took his own life a couple of month later due to depression.

In March 1993 Kevin Carter made a trip to Sudan. Near the village of Ayod, Carter found a girl who had stopped to rest while struggling to a United Nations feeding centre, whereupon a vulture had landed nearby. Careful not to disturb the bird, he waited for twenty minutes until the vulture was close enough, positioned himself for the best possible image and only then chased the vulture away. At this point Carter was probably not yet aware that he had shot one of the most controversial photographs in the history of photojournalism.

“The parents of the children were busy taking food from the plane, so they had left their children only briefly while they collected the food. This was the situation for the girl in the photo taken by Carter. A vulture landed behind the girl. To get the two in focus, Carter approached the scene very slowly so as not to scare the vulture away and took a photo from approximately 10 meters. He took a few more photos before chasing the bird away”.

The photograph was sold to The New York Times where it appeared for the first time on March 26, 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. Because of this, Carter was bombarded with questions about why he did not help the girl, and only used her to take a photograph.

As with many dramatic photographs, Carter came under criticism for this shot. The St. Petersburg Times in Florida wrote: “The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene”. The attitude that public opinion condemned was not only that of taking the picture instead of chasing the vulture immediately away, but also the fact that he did not help the girl afterwards –as Carter explained later- leaving her in such a weak condition to continue the march by her self towards the feeding center.

However, Carter was working in a time when photojournalists were told not to touch famine victims for fear of spreading disease. Carter estimated that there were twenty people per hour dying at the food center. The child was not unique. Regardless, Carter often expressed regret that he had not done anything to help the girl, even though there was not much that he could have done.

In 1994, Kevin Carter won the Pulitzer prize for the disturbing photograph of a Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture. That same year, Kevin Carter committed suicide.

Carter is the tragic example of the toll photographing such suffering can take on a person. Along with his famous photograph, Carter had captured such things as a public necklacing execution in 1980s South Africa, along with the violence of the time, including shootouts and other executions. Carter spoke of his thoughts when he took these photographs: “I had to think visually. I am zooming in on a tight shot of the dead guy and a splash of red. Going into his khaki uniform in a pool of blood in the sand. The dead man’s face is slightly gray. You are making a visual here. But inside something is screaming: ‘My God!’. But it is time to work. Deal with the rest later. If you can’t do it, get out of the game”.

The suicide: On 27 July 1994 Carter drove his way to Parkmore near the Field and Study Center, an area where he used to play as a child, and committed suicide by taping one end of a hose to his pickup truck’s exhaust pipe and running the other end to the driver’s side window. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 33. Carter’s suicide note read:

“I’m really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist… I am depressed… without phone… money for rent … money for child support… money for debts… money!!!… I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain… of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners… I have gone to join Ken [recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek] if I am that lucky”.

105 thoughts on “The vulture and the little girl

    1. Ivona

      He did, actually… many people and also the newspaper that published this photo, confirmed this information. He was a very compassionate person and all of that contributed to his suicide.

      1. Nikki

        He wasn’t that compassionate if it took him 20 minutes to get the shot before shooing the bird away. But he’s not the first photographer to get the ‘money’ shot and not do anything to help anyone.

        1. megan

          He’s not part of the peace keeping force. He is a photographer – by taking such a good shot – he DID help people. He did his job. INCREDIBLY well.

          1. Farooq adil

            If it were his own child, then what would he do? Ask from your heart………..

        2. bob

          The thing is, this guy was told not to touch anyone there because there was a disease going around. If he wanted to get the photo, he had three options.

          1. Take a photo and leave
          2. Take a photo and, shoo the bird away, and leave
          3. Or take a photo, shoo the bird away, help the girl, and then leave

          For the safety of him and anyone else who might get the disease if he touched the girl, he chose option #2.
          You really can’t blame him.

        3. Moe's Opinion

          You’re really stupid…you know that. You are exactly the sort of person who contributed to Kevin’s taking his own life. I’ll bet your career, if you have one, is centered around monetary gain and nothing more…so please shut your hideous mouth!

        4. Delilah

          he took so to take a photo that was good enough to convey a message to the audience. clearly you are upset by looking at this image, which is something Kevin wanted us to feel.If you’re saying that he did this for money, then clearly you don’t know your facts because after he won the prize, he committed himself. So don’t say that he didn’t care about the child because he did everything he could to change the world.

        5. Farooq adil

          well-said. people name it professionalism, actually it is barbarism. That pic almost took my soul out. It is the effect of two- dimensional stuff, and what kind of that fellow was who saw the living three dimensional stuff and it didn’t awake human in him. This rotten professionalism sense be damned.

          1. penny fox

            Exactly, if it was his own child would he stand there watching the vulture and child and make sure he takes an award winning photograph. Easy to do when its not your child, out of mind out of site, yes you reap what you sow.

    2. sarah

      how the hell would you know that- were you there? I doubt it, so keep your sweeping statements to yourself

    3. remiaan

      Read the article… “A vulture landed behind the girl. To get the two in focus, Carter approached the scene very slowly so as not to scare the vulture away and took a photo from approximately 10 meters. He took a few more photos before chasing the bird away.”

      1. Megan carter

        Don’t be so stupid or ignorant to believe one article why don’t you do your research before you make such a sweeping statement. My dad came home with not only the true account of what happened which by the way is not this but also the negatives to prove it..he was there for twenty minutes afterwards taking shots and waiting because of land mines and such blah blah why don’t you read a little more before taking such a bold stand. As his daughter I feel myself wanting to protect him against people like you it’s like hey buddy read a lil more, but more than that.. beyond being that you make me angry because you sound like someone who just goes goes with it and feeds off salacious bullshit that makes you feel more intelligent and that is everything that is wrong with our world right now bleh how sad. But someone has got to take a stand against people like you. What prey tell are you doing l? I mean while you sit at your computer and judge someone for not only getting off their ass but getting in the line of a very bad(to say the least)civil war to shine light and help feed and home millions and millions and millions of people? That is what that photo did you dooche bag. Don’t be so dim. Turn your fucking light on. It might help. Might.

        1. Ella Karnser

          If you’re so smart, why don’t you just use the right words to reprimand someone huh? Prey tell! Come on, even I know that’s wrong and I’m only 13… Research on one photograph, you think that is going to have all the legit information. Yeah, no-one should “feed off of bull crap” to feel smarter, but nobody should reprimand people for it either. Next time you come on here, Megan Carter, give me a call and tell me why I’m wrong

          1. megan

            ‘Prey tell’ in other words ‘please do tell’ nothing wrong with that phrase, maybe a few more years on your belt would teach you that. Can’t and won’t judge a 13 year old for not understanding perfectly accurate English. I think that people are judging without the facts and as I have all the negative pictures of that trip to see the hours before during and after I have way more information that you in order to shine light on the truth. No need or desire to call you, thanks.

          2. chris

            Actually, it’s “pray tell.” As you say, just use the right words. I would amend that to say “correct words,” but no matter. Interesting misuse of words in this case, though, I’ll admit.

        2. ILNJ

          Megan I’m so sorry about your father. He was a great photographer. You have every reason to be very proud. I’m sure you were one of the best things in his life. I hope you understand that his sadness had nothing to do with you. I hope you have the life he couldn’t have.

        3. Moe's Opinion

          Your father’s work is incredible. I despise any person sitting back in their comfortable chair who would dare criticize his work or his actions. He made the world aware of the horrors going on at great risk to himself…God bless him and his tremendous contribution he made! You have all rights to be very proud of his memory!

        4. Glen

          Megan, I have a part time photo business, not photo journalism, I try to focus on the positive things that can bring more appreciation to life. That being said I have experienced myself, and seen through others eyes, a great degree of pain and the emotional damage that can come when a person is invested in others and truly cares about others.
          This world can be a horrible place, and there is nothing worse that I know of than innocent people victimized by other people or circumstances that are often created by people that have no trace of human concern for others.
          I became aware of kevin Carter’s work a few years ago, and I have to say that his photos are some of the most disturbing I have ever seen. The emotional impact does not go away. You cannot unsee the images of human desperation and suffering.
          That impact, despite the criticism, is what gives those images power. If good photography is about emotional effect, these images are some of the best that have ever been taken. I am not talking about financial value. The comments that focus on that show an unbelievable degree of ignorance and shallow thinking. In their defense some people simply cannot handle things that are emotionally disturbing. That is OK but but the attack on others out of ignorance is not.
          Do they think that what Kevin did was about getting rich? His life’s record proves that was not a motivation.
          Many have condemned him for not putting down his camera and immediately helping that girl. If he had done that what would the result have been? Would that little girl have been any better off the next day? Would anyone have benefited beyond the few minutes he was on the ground?
          The effect of that photo and others he took had a lasting effect. People could not look at those images and just turn away, stick their heads in the sand, and go about their business as if it never happened. HE MADE A DIFFERENCE, AND THAT IS MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE DO IF THEY LIVE THREE TIMES AS LONG AS HE DID.
          He was a hero in an industry that has a lot of exceptional people. He accomplished some good in this world and that is the highest standard there is.
          Was he messed up? Yeah, who wouldn’t be after experiencing what he had. That doesn’t make what he did any less important. Awareness is the first stage of benevolence.

    4. Bill OBanion

      A blind man could not see any picture and so must only consider the facts. Try closing your eyes to what you see and have learned, especially those of you whom sit on your sofa watching the brady bunch eating left overs and drinking an iced tea made from the abundant supply of fresh drinkable running water available in every room of a home these people can never imagine exists in their wildest dreams, just as your golden paved streets running across the heavens lined with ripened fruit trees whose branches are home to beautiful white doves, also does not exist, and if it does may your God have mercy on your soul, while he would no doubt in my own mind give it to this man who at least did something unlike you. A man who invested his talent, forfeited his mind and dear soul to capture a photo that inevitably most likely (now this is just my assumption mind you) very likely stirred action and motivated many organizations to donate to the cause, give supplies, send medical personnel or other help as well as countless millions of dollars of donations from United States who then pressured other governments to follow suit, all in all combined couldve then summarized that with this photo he saved millions of lives there in that same community where this little girl that would have died no matter what from what I’m understanding was portrayed.

      1. Aron

        You are so right,because without photographs like these we would have no idea of the horrors mankind can inflict on itself ,and by seeing these we learn to be better . It is one of lifes tragedies that the photogrpher was unable to reach someone and get help. Depression is the silent killer.

    5. Tim

      would anyone with ANY type of comment for or against the article please ask the girl if she cares,

  1. Helen

    Has touched my heart and head in a way no other medium has. I know other children suffer even in this country. Yet I do little or nothing. Shame on me, shame on us.

    1. shelley

      This same photograph inspired me to get off my ass and help. We who have money spend it on NOTHING important… Just registered at Save the Children to donate monthly. I won’t miss it, and hopefully, it will help, even if a little bit. Imagine if each of us who posted a comment were to do that – even if it’s just $35/month or less even, what we could do to help children like this baby girl. Put your money where your mouth is – you’ll feel better – otherwise, why are we even here?

      1. Megan carter

        Good on you once you do something you get a say those that sit and do nothing do not get to preach. My dad always said “do something or just be quite while I do” rip Kevin carter I know I vented in the above comment but I get so sick of people judging my dad when he sacrificed his lively hood to make this world a better place and still so long after his death people still don’t get what he did. We are here talking and the better ones.. Are actually doing something.. That was the point.. So thank you

        1. Sharon Lafitte

          Megan, this is a social site. Where anyone can post their opinions. It would be very difficult for me to read negative comments about my father and because of that, I would probably keep from looking. To respond in such a way to a 13-year-old girl is ridiculous. It takes away from your credibility. Regardless, I can’t imagine what your father experienced. It’s easy for many to judge without being there. We also are given the impression by this one photo that there was only one malnourished, struggling young girl, when in fact there were many. Photo’s like this are powerful and necessary for the masses to see, as difficult as they are.

          1. megan

            While i understand what you are saying – it is touchy for me and i dont intend to read these anymore. if someone is going to be rude and attack my English – which has got nothing to do with anything and which was just strange – i will repond. Also if we are all aloud oppinions – then i include myself, so am intitled to have one. I agree with Cam’s comment above and I am entitled – and in a lot of ways feel obligated to share that VERY SAME oppinion. It got heated between the two of us only because he attacked – and like i said “i cant and wont blame a 13 year old..” but i’m human and i will argue my point back. As many people do here – goes back and forth and often gets very heated – its a heated conversation.

        2. Tamra John

          Megan its the first time i have seen this photograph and it really touched me just as the photographer your father wanted it to .

  2. greg

    I keep looking at this picture. I think of this little girl every day. she is one of many but this photo has changed my way of thinking. I feel a need to help. I’m sad for the photographer too.

  3. farmerboggsLaura voggs

    I am thankful carter took this photo, least we all continue to ignore the consequences of our actions on this planet. It is easy to blame cater for not “helping” her, but harder to blame ourselves for creating her.

  4. Zook

    Kevin Carter was showing the world how bad things really are ,manic street preachers, Kevin Carter song, say,s it all, this man , was mentally disturbed with what he witnessed, he needs to be remembered for showing the world , how children are starving too death, Kevin Carter, r.i.p you did nothing wrong, far zook

  5. Nord Land

    Kevin Carter did what a journalist is supposed to, and he captured one of the most horrific images ever conceivable, that of a vulture stalking a starving child. I can’t imagine the guilt that must have consumed him, and the anguish of knowing how many more people in the region suffer, and continue to suffer, in that way, and then thinking he ought to have done something to intervene. If only he could understand that starvation and deprivation are intrinsic to the continent, as the inhabitants there remain in an arrested state of primitiveness, where technology has not evolved beyond the Stone Age, and accordingly, the people there are entirely dependent on the largess of civilized nations. The most tragic thing is that the indigenous Africans are completely unable to operate or maintain any irrigation, water distribution or other agricultural equipment given to them so that the various tribes might be able to feed themselves instead of continuing what is evidently a perpetual cycle of dependency and technological incompetence.

    1. Monica

      My name is Monica. I am black. I am African (Namibia). Your comment is wildly ignorant and its sick and sad and pathetic that you know so little of the “uncivilised world”. Everything you said we need, we do, but not from you.

      America and Europe feel that they need to help “poor” Africa because we cannot fend for ourselves, but the truth is this – the Western world wants the resources we have (Africa is the richest continent in terms of natural resources and minerals, if you didn’t know) and it needs a way to get in good with our leaders in order for them to benefit. So by providing aid, they get in our good books.

      What is stopping our progress is that corruption is rife in Africa, and the governments cannot do what they should because governing officials use their position as a means to enrich themselves. Like all government officials do.

      You say we are “technologically incompetent… That starvation and deprivation are instrinsic to the continent… And we are completely unalbe to operate or maintain any irrigation, water distribution or other agricultural equipment…”

      Read a book, use the internet, look up statistics. In fact, go back to school. Get eduacted. The fact that you’re more technically advanced doesn’t make you better, or worse, than anyone else – it just means you have better technology. How are you stupid enough to even put this out there? You need Jesus.

      1. Leona K Fereinio

        I am truly sorry. I mean no disrespect, I wish their was something I could say that would help you see not all of us think the things you wrote about us. I know that if you could you would do what you could, but yes government kills all hope.

        Blessings to all of you, and i honestly mean that.

      2. inlitend?

        You are spot on in your response. My experience in Africa tells me that there is great intelligence and at the same time great corruption and instability. One can only succeed when there is a stable environment in which to learn, grow, and share. But one thought continues to haunt me about this photo – stop having children that will be forced to die in their struggle to gain food or housing to survive. The pain inflicted on the small children who are starving or suffering other consequences begins with conception not with photographers.

        1. Monica

          For Leona, there’s really no need for an apology. Every country in every continent has people who are ignorant to things outside the confines of their world. Me included. I’m no exception to that. It depends from person to person and I know that 🙂

          And in response to ‘inlitened’, yeah, a lot of Africans have lots of children but not all African countries have overpopulation issues. As much as the government tells people to stop doing something (having children), not all will listen – its the same in every country on this Earth.

          There are thousands of governement and community centres in all the African countries to help with family planning. People are getting educated now though so its our prayer as Africans that progress is imminents. And it is, just not at the rate 1st world countries are advancing.

        2. Tanya

          You are truly spot on. My sentiments exactly. This truly breaks my heart.

      3. mike

        They dont need Jesus They need you to continue spreading the message you have just posted America needs to stay the hell out of other peoples buisness and worry about their own problems of greed and control

      4. anonymous

        There is some truth to what he posted. You might want to get educated yourself. When he said Africans are not able to operate irrigation and other farm equipment, I think he was talking about hellholes like Zimbabwe. In the 2000s, Mugabe and his friends and family began seizing 1000s of the most productive farms and keeping them for themselves. Indeed, they did not know how to operate the most basic farm equipment to keep the farms running. That caused the economy to collapse and has resulted in mass hunger. Zimbabwe went from being a food exporter to a food importer (via international aid and private charity programs). Worse, Mugabe is threatening to send his 100 million hungry supporters into the national wildlife reserves and eat the endangered animals to extinction.

        Mugabe, actually a spokesman/minister in a speech in February, has begun threatening to seize the country’s wildlife reserves just as he did with the farms in the 2000s. That operation caused the economy to collapse and has resulted in mass hunger. STalin did the same thing to the kulaks (productive farms) in the 1920s. The resulting famine killed 6 million in the Ukraine in less than 2 years. Zimbabwe went from being a food exporter to a food importer (via international aid and private charity programs). Worse, he is threatening to send his 100 million hungry supporters into the reserves and eat the endangered animals to extinction.
        “You need Jesus” – please. Where was Jesus when that little girl and millions like her needed him?

        1. anonymous

          I am reluctant to mention who owned and operated the farms because it’s often considered racist to point out ethnicity. So I post as anonymous. The farms that were seized in Zimbabwe are white-owned and those who are receiving them are all members of the black upper class and are friends and family of ruler Robert Mugabe.

          1. Monica

            There’s no need to be reluctant. Its a fact that only the white-owned farms were forcefully taken (as I said). Its clear as day that the “beneficiaries” were friends of government officials = corruption and racism. Whoever denies this fact is in denial or are themselves racist in some form becuase only black people “benefitted” from that horror.

            I think you misunderstood the essence of what I meant, though. I said even though what they did is terribly tragic, their incapability to work the machines they now possessed was a result of not being taught how to. It had nothing to do with a limited capacity to think or operate, it was just lack of skills. I said this to point out that people within African countries with tyrannical leaders can work technology but they just do not possess the skill. Any person can learn to do anything, regardless of race or ethnicity

      5. anonymous

        Monica, (replying to your last comment) I misunderstood you first post. I agree with what you said. Lack of training, corruption, lack of opportunity (which kills incentive), no socio-economic mobility and many other things in tyrannical governments all contribute to this. I don’t know much about the colonial era or the Apartheid era, but we can see from the current conditions that the white rulers didn’t do anything to educate and prepare the natives to rule themselves in modern economic conditions. But with their new independence in the 1970s, they were expected to go from Stone Age technology to the modern era within a few years. I know they established schools, but I get the impression they weren’t very practical. They developed physical infrastructure and stopped with that. It just seems like instead of handing out food to famine victims, the former colonial rulers should instead be trying to fix this.

        1. Monica

          You’re right, but not entirely. The colonial regime was ruthless, but they didn’t leave us destitute or without some means to somewhat better ourselves. In the past we weren’t taught anything remotely usefull, unless you were a traitor, but we were taught some skills. They killed, tortured and humiliated the black race, but we learned a few things from them.

          I’ll use my country (Namibia) as an example. Before and during the early decades of the 1900s, we were colonised by the Germans. They introduced industrialism and a dependent form of self-sufficiency to those that were willing to forsake their own people for a “better” life. So they taught those that wanted to know how to operate advanced machinery.

          Then when the South Africans took over, we experienced Apartheid which was terrible. As horrible as it was though, they introduced new avenues for blacks to educate themselves. It was better than what the Germans offered, but they limited the level of progress they wanted to see in the black race by only making certain proffessions accessible to blacks (teacher or nurse, these were the only choices).

          Now, those that wanted to better themselves and get educated were prevented from doing so coz it was seen as a threat that a black could compete, fairly, with the white man. So ultimately, it makes sense that we’re so behind in terms of education and possessing high-level skills, but our government has implemented many strategies to fix this issue and its coming along great.

          I’m looking forward to the future of Africa coz there’s more to see. We just pray that the leaders get their act together coz the choices they make determine our future.

    2. lilpuddenpuff

      “The most tragic thing is that the indigenous Africans are completely unable to operate or maintain any irrigation, water distribution or other agricultural equipment given to them so that the various tribes might be able to feed themselves instead of continuing what is evidently a perpetual cycle of dependency and technological incompetence.”
      So, ah… Monica beat me to the punch and worded it much better than I could, but I’ll just add a quick thing: you know a very similar sense of pity and believing a certain group to be primitive and helpless is what has helped countless people justify their sense of manifest destiny, and believe that they were “liberating” the uncivilised or some other self-righteous hoopla.
      Yes, there are people who need help and want to lead better, more stable lives. That’s something that is an issue in every society, in every population of humans- poverty and starvation and illness, disease, violence, and everything else is not something that resides solely in “primitive” populations. It’s good that you express sympathy but… c’mon man… having a less corrupted government, more technological resources, etc doesn’t make anybody better or more “competent” than the next person. I mean… there’s a fine line between having a desire to help and simply taking pity on something; all this talk of how defenceless and… whatever other stereotypes about the “3rd world” may be, it only really shows that the age old stigma of Africa as a whole is still very much alive, you know…?

      1. Monica

        Very true. Well put man. Believe it or not, the stigma is very much alive within Africa as well, and it’s sad. As individuals we should all do our best to do our best so that, for humanity’s sake, we’re all better off.

    3. cdarhower

      Nord Land, you are a very ignorant human being. You use big words and yet have such a small mind.

      “Kevin Carter thought he could have done something to intervene”. One man cannot change the famined parts of Africa and I bet that Kevin Carter understood this. His suicide note said that he often had flashbacks of all the death and destruction. Guilt was probably not an accurate feeling, but helplessness. It’s the way I feel when 80% of the people in my country speak like you.

      “as the inhabitants there remain in an arrested state of primitiveness, where technology has not evolved beyond the Stone Age” This is possibly the most ignorant and yet bigoted statement I have ever read. The “inhabitants” who are “primitive” and technologically “incompetent”? You make it sound like they are savages who are just too stupid to pull themselves out of famine. It’s way, way more complicated then a simple lack of effort. You have clearly never met a “primitive” African person, because it’s way too easy for you to cast judgement on who they are and what they’re capable of. You need to stop watching the news, it’s brainwashing you.

      These are some of the reasons why Africa is in famine, none of which include “ignorant and primitive human beings whose technology has not evolved past the stone age”.

      1. sean como

        I seen the words “inhabitants” as evictable tenants! This is their land! Their World! Just as this is Our Planet!

        Why can I not trust my brother long enough to talk to him for Real? Is it because like me, I know the words already?

  6. dee

    I wonder if he would have felt that way if that was a Caucasian child? Funny how the whites in South Africa does not have the same problem as the blacks. Disease, poverty, segregation! Just cruelty toward people who have embraced them after all that they have done to them, murdered, hanged, raped, forced into slavery, stolen from there land, language, food, their true history, black males called boys even at 60-70 years of age. The destruction they have done to the black race.

  7. Des Paton

    Saw that picture tonight for the first time and though that who ever had taken the picture had saved that baby. I was wrong.

  8. Terra

    Absolutely eye opening. This is just sad beyond words and beliefs. I pray that child survived and is safe.

  9. nick

    He did not care. He was after a picture? Not saying I am any better. I coululd be there in 12 hours and save a kid in a similar situation!

    1. amir

      you can not judge pepole when you are in same level …

    2. Araze1993

      Easy words from a man sitting in front of the computer, why haven’t you went to africa and saved at least one kid there then?
      If you actually read up on things a little, you would know that he was prevented by the local soldiers to interfere with the situation there.
      Not to mention at that stage of starvation, eating food without medical preparations would cause death by the refeeding syndrome, and i doubt they have that kind of food at hand.

        1. Jason Y

          Dear Megan,
          I read your father’s stories by chance and then I google it more detail about….

          I do tell at first I have similar stupid questions in my mind but after reading more about your father, I do feel sorry about him. and I am sure you feel proud of him and what he did for the people..

          It was always ironic for the good people being judge like that, misunderstanding, prejudice, pride…etc, and I try hard not to make conclusion with just impression….

          I know you suffer a lot from all the things they criticized on your father. and really hope that my comment would comfort you a bit.

          From my point of view, your father is a hero, not just for Sudan, but also brave enough to voice out to the world.

          Best Regards,

    3. megan Carter

      So then please go. He saved up his own cash to do so, and if you think you can do better for the people of Sudan, or anywhere for that matter, go..go..go!! he used his medium to shine light on something that billions didn’t know about at that time and in the end saved millions of lives because of it so if you have any better ideas or feelings then go help, the world certainly needs it.

  10. corestarme

    Cast the first stone, those who are without sin. Choose peace at all times. We are all imperfect. We are all love-able. Life happens.

    1. sean como

      Why cast the stone in the first place? Guilt?
      I cannot think of any reason but to hide humility!
      Most situations don’t need any of us. Why do we crave these situations?

      1. Ernest

        That means no one should cast a stone because all people possess sin.

  11. amir

    he did not save the kid , but he saved so many more after that / not by his own a
    hand by his shoot

  12. Manoj Gautam

    This picture is so shocking and disturbing. I dont know why Kavin Carter took this picture. But he certainly exposed the horrrible reality and that is commendable. I feel guilty of living in this time when I survived enjoying plenty of food and water while someone like this girl, who is human being like me, struggled and crawled on ground to get something to eat.

  13. Gabriel Winchester

    I understand the urge to help. But why are these people, this country, in this condition? My country is not. What are the persistent issues and problems and conditions that keep these people on the brink of starvation, waiting and needing the world to come to their door and feed them, decade after decade? That is a problem they must remedy so their children are not forced to crawl to “‘food centers” under the eyes of vultures, ever again.

    While it is compassionate to care, to help, isn’t it really their responsibility to fix their own society, to alter their way of living so that this condition is not the hallmark of their lives forever?

    It’s very Christian to help those “less fortunate”. But at what point does this have less to do with “fortune” than with choices? With culture? With self-responsibility?

    I am ashamed of the adults in this little child’s community who allowed their lives to be such failures that this fate was visited upon their children…with their very survival dependent upon the kindness of strangers.

    And by the way, my compassionate friends, neither this child or any other child born into these circumstances is “safe” or ever will be. If starvation doesn’t kill them, violence will, or disease, or injury will.

    Ignorance kills.

    The only way to change the fate of this child and others like her, is to change the culture that produced her.

    1. cdarhower

      What are the persistent issues and problems and conditions that keep these people on the brink of starvation, waiting and needing the world to come to their door and feed them, decade after decade?

      1. “Civilized” socities deforestation of their rainforests, depleting natural resources.
      2. “Civilized” socities seizure of their land, planting bad crops, throwing off mother nature and handing it back to Africa a mess.
      3. America only giving gifts of food relief to the countries who backed them in the Cold war. These African Countries fought Soviet Russia from making Arms trades in Africa, Soviet Russia destroyed their towns and economies.
      4. “Civilized” societies seizure of land by charging outrageous taxes and handing it back to a tyranny government.
      5. “Civilized” societies bleeding hearts. Send all our leftovers there, used clothing crashes their textile markets, and food relief puts farmers out of business.

      “The only way to change the fate of this child and others like her, is to change the culture that produced her.. ”

      WE ARE THE CULTURE THAT PRODUCED HER. The starving her. So start changing. Because we aren’t the civilized ones.

      1. sean como

        I believe it true too. He had a conflicting struggle. Make it through this so I may tell. Or stand up now and fall silent.

        If one could see through anothers tears and all feel our worst and best. Who will be blind? Seeing is more than believing. Its belief in motion.

    2. NP

      IT’S CALLED WAR. Civil war, corruption, you name it. Have a war happen in your own country, unprovoked by yourself & see how you & your children feel about “the culture that produced you”

  14. Charles Bronson

    Bleeding heart Christians and liberals that go to Africa with their “good intentions” and pathological altruism are the ones spurring the high fecundity rate that has fueled Africa’s population boom. All non-primitive nations need to stay completely out of Africa and let the Sub-Sahara have its Malthusian catastrophe and return to what nature allows for.

    1. Christian Gustafson

      Finally someone gets it right. Africa had a population of 120 million in 1900. Do they really need a billion-plus today, living in the slums of Lagos, eating every last monkey or lizard than can still be found out in the bush?

      The West needs to withdraw and allow Africa to revert to its natural mean, what their civilization is capable of supporting on its own. Feeding them does nothing to help, in the big picture.

      1. Monica

        Kevin Carter wanted to show people what was happening coz its a sad reality for millions of people around the world, it just happened to be that this occurred in an African state. Now you all assume that ALL of Africa is suffering and all African countries suffer from some form of devestation or whatever. Really guys, you need to read and learn what is around you. Knowing your history will open up your minds to the truth (which is that foreign occupation was always resisted and countless millions of people died fighting for freedom, which turned out to be futile because of the advancement in thinking and weaponry civilisation possessed) so you stop saying such meaningless things. You say this because you don’t know.

        And, since the Western world is “non-primitive”, the fact that, according to your standards, we’re not as developed means that we’re primitive? Wow. I didn’t know that Africans couldn’t read or write or learn or behave or anything humanly possible. It’s truly a shame that you think that. I’m clearly an anomaly.

        Westerns possess more power and means, and they have more control over what is said about them than we do. Reporters and journalists themselves are not always capable and do not always fully understand what it means. Look, all I’m saying is its so easy to sit and judge and talk and debate and state your opinion, but the truth is that you kind of don’t have a say when you’re clueless about the subect matter.

        I implore all of you – read first.

  15. Josie Smith

    Carter was a photojournalist. He told stories with pictures. I don’t presume to know how it is in any other country but my own, until I see shots like the one above. This picture ultimately helped in part to bring the famine in the Sudan to the attention of the world. Those of you who spew your criticism at him for this one shot, have you looked at any others he took? He threw himself into situations the rest of us would not. The violence in South Africa during Apartheid. The famine and unrest in Sudan. If I wrote a story for a newspaper and said, “I saw a starving girl crawling to the food tent and there was a vulture behind her waiting for her to die so he could feast”, would not have the impact of seeing the photo. The photo captured on 9/11 of one of the victims who had jumped out of the window. Should the photographer have tried to catch him at the bottom? Of course not. But that photo and Carter’s photo above spoke volumes as to what was happening.

    1. Laura rowley

      My name is laura and not that it matters but as Monica seemed to feel the need to say so I’m white and I’m Welsh, I don’t need Jesus or to go back to school, I’m not angry or bitter, just very sad by the image itself and by the fact that the poor man who took this and other harrowing images to show the world what’s really going on couldn’t then cope with what he’d showed us all, that’s really all there is to it

      1. Monica

        Hi Laura, I mentioned that I’m black and African to make a staement. It wasn’t about Kevin Carter, it was in response to one of the comments. It had to do with what he said, and I couldn’t let what he said be out there for the internet to see when his statement wasn’t factual or truthful.

  16. Megan carter

    If only people could have shown such compassion and bravery towards him in his difficult time the way that he did for everyone who entered his space at any time, this world would be a better place because with him in it, people would be more kind, thinking with their hearts, even if, like his they were too soft and too big “made of yogi Bears’ as he once said to me as a little girl. I guess he was trying to explain how he felt obout a world he couldn’t fathom. But as his baby girl and I must say I am beyond proud to be his daughter.. I didn’t get what he was so worried about.. gummy bears and my little ponies ruled the world.. Perhaps that’s why we got on so well at the end of the day I just wish people got over a debate that is not a actually a debate at all but instead a personal perception..So why don’t you all go out there yourself?? I mean if your so concerned why don’t you go do something for these poor children???? Not meaning go do what he did which lets face it is super scary and is not for the faint hearted.. But it is insulting to people like him for you to sit back and take judgment as your weapon and just chill at home and pass judgement on someone who put his life on the line everyday to make this world a better place. All he did was have hope for a better world and he thought he would use his talents to shine light on the traversty that was happening around him and he Tried every day to make his footprint a better one than he felt his fellow men’s were. He got up off his pharmacitical ass and did something about it. Yeah that seems like a crap idea. Dunno why he did that.. He should have stayed behind the counter and put his thoughts on the back burner and played house house like the rest of us. What an idiot:

  17. Chimi Bulus

    Carter was to some extent right because I see no reason why the humanist should accuse him of not helping the girl . He was a journalist and he performed his task which is to inform, because of that noble task the world came to their aid.

  18. gachora

    It’s a very difficult job to be a journalist and particularly a photo journalist. Since no one remained to give an eye witness account the best is to see the bigger picture and root cause(s) of such human suffering and do something about it. Injustice through discrimination, marginalization and outright murder of perceived enemy lies at the base of so much suffering across the world. Aided by evil and dictatorial regimes whose focus is to keep power at whatever cost. Sudan is just one such a country.

  19. Warren Pice

    For the smart asses questioning his actions, think that by him taking the picture you are actually impressed and arguing about it, in a way that we, as human beings, may be able to overcome at some point, something so shameful as the situation in which the girl is depicted.

  20. p. fox

    Megan, you seem to think we are all on our computers doing nothing just because your father was there took a most hideous disastrous photograph, doesn’t mean no-one else has done their bit to help. How do you know what each of us are doing every day for world poverty, or how do you know what anyone on this thread has suffered in their lives. How do you know if any of us have been to Africa. ?
    People are suffering atrocities everyday, it doesn’t mean its ok to wait patiently to take a photo of a vulture trying to eat a little girl. How sickening.
    Try living with the fact your grandmother committed suicide because she lost her husband in a concentration camp in Auschwitz. The world is not a rosy place. Try working every day with refugees escaping severe persecution often having undergone torture.
    Why was this little girl even left there like that. ? Why in some parts of Africa are they letting their girls get circumcised? Why do African men beat their wives and had multiple wives? Sorry, you cannot blame us “whiteys” for that. Any mother who loved her child would not let her daughter suffer such a disgusting thing as female circumcision. I find it disgusting this child was there alone, most likely because she was born a girl and not a boy. The picture is not just to do with starvation but the whole cultural context and way of life.
    People never seem to amaze me it is always easier to blame someone else. Anyone who can get any glorification from such a cruel disgusting heartless photograph should be ashamed of themselves, as is judging what people on here do with their ‘spare time’ is ridiculous. If he didn’t want people to look at his photo and comment on it why did he take the photo. You have no idea about human compassion,

    1. Megan carter

      Did you read what I was saying within context? Clearly not, cz I’m not saying you have to go out their and sacrifice your life for humanity like he and many others did. I’m not about to do that. But jeez don’t sit behind your computer and judge the way in which he did help save many lives. That’s all. And if you are actually getting off your ass and helping in any way you can or know how then fine cool, great. But then why judge him? And also your whole blame the whities comment makes no sense in relation to my views I’m a South African white and have no ideas on blame etc regarding skin colour so have no idea what you are going on about to be honest it doesn’t sound like you even know about the time or circumstances, people or situation. Do your research and then perhaps you’ll make more sense. Right now you just sound like your venting to vent.

  21. Aron

    pfox. I think you really need to reread what the photographer said the situation was. Behind the camera,a few meters away was a food tent. The parents of several children,most of them dying, left them at the periphery of the aid camp so they could line up to receive food aid . This child was one of a great many and there were probably dozens of vultures hanging about ,not just one. Mr Carter was not allowed to come into contact with any of the people ,on the orders of the military who were present. The risk of spreading illness was mentioned. Not from the children but from the photographer to the child who in her weakened state, approaching death,would have been susceptible to even a common cold and this would have spread immediately amongst the people there causing even more deaths.

    He was not seeking glory, but i will guarentee that in his mind as he composed the photograph he could see that if this picture were published it would tell a story of utter horror to the world which was ignoring the plight of the Southern sudanese at the hands of the muslim government who wished to impose sharia law. Civil war has plagued Sudan for centuries, there were two in the 20th Century .

    The Second Sudanese Civil War was a conflict from 1983 to 2005 between the central Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. It was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile. It lasted for 22 years and is one of the longest civil wars on record. The war resulted in the independence of South Sudan six years after the war ended.
    When this photograph was takern,the world had forgotten that England had turned over the governance of Northern (Arabic Muslim ) Sudan and Southern (African,Non muslim ) to the mainly Northern interests and the control of the oil fields to foreign interests . Yes Sudan has oil, mostly in the non productive edge of the sahara desert.
    So..for us in the west, it is totally wrong to judge these people because of what their governments have done to them>.The Civil war , it has been said , is a ethnoreligious one where the southerners fought back against a northern controlled government who were and still are starving the southerners .

    I have an interest in this subject, Two of my cousins were MPs in South Africa, one founded the South African Communist party and the other passed away a few yars ago after returning to SA and becoming his state member after living in the UK for many many years. He had been forced to leave under Apartheid rule. A few of my ancestors were African Slaves, taken by arab slavers but freed by the royal nay and left on St Helena before moving to South Africa . They didn’t stay long,the afrikaaners were not too happy to have educated black people living amongst them. And they moved to another country where colour didn’t matter and the family thrived.
    I will close with one observation, we hear all the time about over crowding ,but those who say that have never been to an African country. If anything it is a problem of a lack of population in many other Continents many separate states. Those countries that do well are governed by those who are fee of outside influence ,although the Chicom government is funding a lot of development ….

    Roughly two million people died as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict. Four million people in southern Sudan were displaced at least once (and often repeatedly) during the war. The civilian death toll is one of the highest of any war since World War II[4] and was marked by a large number of human rights violations. These include slavery and mass killings. The conflict officially ended with the signing of a peace agreement in January 2005.

    1. P.Fox

      thank-you Aron for bringing that information to my attention in an understandable way. Let us all hope and pray the peace agreement stands. It is just too heartwrenching seeing photographs of little children in this situation, one can only imagine the unimaginable suffering of these hungry children.

  22. bea

    I had no idea hunger was a disease. what an ignorant excuse to not help a dying child. He killed himself because he knew he was wrong and that’s why he died broke. smh.

  23. BRS

    I don’t care what he did, even if he stepped over her. His photo highlighted the famine in Africa thereby saving thousands of lives in the process.

  24. cheyanne

    wow this is inspiring never new there was so much starvation in the world that the valtures have to eat us humans

  25. Karen

    I think he brought reality to us what we don see everyday but happens.

  26. Jason Wong

    This photo along with its story has scarred my heart in such an unimaginable way. This photo evokes so much emotions to the problems happening day after day. My heart also grieves for Kevin Carter. The unique yet tragic of Carter is so indisputable. He has shown the world a powerful photo of the issues that have been yet to conquer. He suffered a life with guilt, economic, lost, and his own photo. I’m glad that I encountered this photo. It has given me a perspective of the world. Let us thank Carter for uncovering the blindness and may he be in God’s hands.

  27. YIHAN

    I read this piece of news about one year ago .

    At that time I was just shocked by this photo—-something frightening that could not be described filled my mind.I believe many people’s first reactions when they see this photo were the same as mine.After that the world began to focus on this problem–the issues of those poor children in Africa . Almost everyone at that time praised the photographer for bringing such an important and pressing issue under spotlight.

    However, not after long , some people ,some people started to attack Kevin Carter for his selflessness . They said he could have had time to rescue the girl and brought bring her the a safe place , booth just wasted time —very precious time to find the best spot of her suffering .They scolded him and took him as the selfish and cold-blood photographer who just took this photo for his own good in order to win fame and fortune , that referred to his Pulitzer Prize for that photo .

    All of a sudden , this brilliant photographer and the Pulitzer Prize winner found himself falling from glory . Nobody treated hi as a hero anymore . What’s more , people thought up a new name for him ‘another vulture’.Yet it seemed that nobody had once remembered his career and duty that he was a photographer just like his partner who took another photo of the same scene. The only differences between them was that Kevin got the Pulitzer Prize but his parter did not . Their job is was to try their best to take a photo perfectly demonstrated the circumstance of those Africa children.They all knew that only these kind of photos can truly touch people’s souls and arouse their awareness towards this issue.

    After I did some research of this event , I dug something deep inside
    discovered something new about him and found that he was completely mistaken misunderstood . Just beside the stone in the photo , the girl;s mother was right there collecting food at that time and the bracelet other wrist showed that she had already received humanitarian aid . The girl was safe for because two photographer guarded her nearby . However, this plot was not not shown on the picture in order to draw more public compassion . They drove the vulture away immediately after the photo was taken and ensured the girl was safe before they left .

    The judges who decided to give him the Pulitzer Prize all knew that . Then how come could Kevin not be able to explain himself ?

    To our surprise, the answer to this question is rather simple . The reports and articles on newspaper and TV were fake . Some of which were just made up by some media companies for the purpose of getting this event more controversial in order to have more audiences .The fake explosive fact and extreme indignation towards this man under the spotlight were the effect that they just expected in order to get more benefit for it.

    Eventually, they succeeded . About one month after the photos was published , Kevin killed himself in his car , which brought his family,friends and those people who respect and believe in him suffering in great pain ever since .

    I felt rather sad about what he had experienced and ended up with , meantime, I also hope nowadays people can be more cautious with the reports towards somebody which were read or heard from media . What they have shown to us may not be true and we need to have our own critical thinkings towards such similar events , trying our best just to prevent another tragedy from happening in the same way again

  28. Ngadla

    The truth about how difficult journalism is can found through their book “The bang bang club.” of which the detailed assignments they took not only in Sudan but all over where they had to do and the sacrifices they did in order for us to learn the other side of life is depicted in that book. The only contribution these critics can do is to buy and read that book and understand how the likes of Ken Oorsterbroek and Carter have encountered through their life of which without them the picture taken”The vulture waits” couldn’t have been the subject of the conversation.

    May their souls rest in peace

  29. Ashley

    Dear Carter family,
    Even if Kevin had adopted this girl, and given her a life of health, education and wealth, this would only have benefitted one single person. And saving any life is admirable.
    But Kevin, through his image, most likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives, making him in effect one of the greatest humanitarians in world history. This image will have played a role and will continue to influence humanitarian operations across the globe.
    You can be proud of his work, and he should be remembered as a hero for his positive impact on this planet.

  30. Darrin

    And what have any of us done to help. We are just as guilty as the man taking the picture.

  31. loosethoughts

    Forget about who took the photo for a moment. Let’s talk about what we’ve done to help people like this since the photo was made public and if it was really enough.

  32. pablose

    This picture brings tears to my eyes! It is a sad beginning and ending too..really mysterious…probably the little poor girl died and the photographer took his life at the end..too bad, life is truly tough.

    1. somiyo Keishing

      really feel bad, I mean not the man nor the girl child, but the things that had happened to both was a huge lament.

  33. somiyo Keishing

    He saw it but doesn’t remember to help the dying girl child,,, and left.

    Alas! regretes overrides him and causeD to SUICIDE

    **It gives a moral, that


  34. Arthur

    Photography is a powerful way to begin a revolution if only the world will notice and channel resources to a specific goal hunger will be something in the past

  35. Mojisola Olayemi

    The picture almost took my soul away too. But I’m glad he took it, and I saw it. I awakened a sense of responsibility in me to help people arou d me who are in need. I have been very hungry before. Now I have plenty of food. The dawn of hunger is just beginning to break, even for some Americans, the land of plenty. I challenge you to look beyond what is readily visible, and I challenge you to help. $2.00 extra on canned foods everytime you do grocery, over 6 months, will surprise you. Get out with company on a cold winter morning, and you might just find who needs the food. I am an immigrant from Africa, with a college degree in Physics and Statistics, now self-employed. I almost dies in college, because of very little food to eat. I appreciate this picture, beyond what I thought was possible. It pulled a lot of cords in my subconscious. This is my first time of seeing the soul-rattling picture, and it just changed my life. I will do all the little I can to serve those around me. They are everywhere, not just in Africa, or back in 1993. This is now.

    1. Mojisola Olayemi

      ‘Dawn of hunger just beginning to break for some people,’ I meant to say. And ‘died of hunger’, I meant to write.


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