Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kevin Carter [Historical Photographer]

Most photographers take pictures for people to view, hoping that it will have some effect on them. What they don't think about is the effect it might have on themselves.

Kevin Carter was an award-winning photojournalist from South Africa. He documented many horrors including the brutality of the apartheid. His real recognition was, however, from a photograph he took in Sudan. In 1993 he found a little Sudanese toddler, dying of starvation, crawling her way to a feeding center. A few feet away was a vulture, sensing the nearness of death and watching as she crawled. Advised not to touch the children for fear of diseases, Carter snapped the photo and left, not offering help to the girl. When the photo was published he encountered a lot of criticism for not knowing what ultimately happened to the girl. Later, he won a Pulitzer Prize for that photograph. Three months after receiving the prize, at the age of 33, Carter committed suicide. The guilt he had experienced and the tragedies he had seen was too much for him to handle.

I realize this is quite a somber post. The reason I decided to write about it is that it seems easy to hide behind a camera sometimes. We must not lose sight of the reason for taking pictures. If Carter's reason was to raise awareness to help these victims of famine, he obviously lost sight of that because he did not have the will to practically help them.

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