In March 1993, in Sudan; South African photo-journalist Kevin Carter took one of the most iconic photographs ever taken. It shows the full tragedy of poverty depicting a young girl, weak and skinny on her way to a UN feeding centre. Behind her, a vulture watches as she stumbles, staggers and struggles to continue.
The photo was first published in The New York Times and instantly received concern from readers. Kevin Carter had chased the vulture away, though rules at the time meant journalists were strictly prohibited from touching famine victims out of fear of spreading disease. This fact did not stop criticism of Carter’s failure to help the girl – one paper insinuating that in taking the photo he was as bad as the vulture, preying on the girl’s misfortune. None the less, the photo titled the Vulture and the little Girl earned Kevin Carter the Pulitzer Prize in 1994.
Kevin Carter killed himself just a few months later aged 33. In his suicide note he wrote: The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist. I am haunted by the vivid memories.
Welsh rock band, The Manic Street Preachers released a song in 1996, inspired by Kevin Carter’s life and death.