In March of 1993, photographer Kevin Carter took a photo of a malnourished toddler in Southern Sudan. The photo, published in the New York Times 26th March 1993, inspired hundreds to contact the newspaper asking the fate of the girl.
João Silva, another photographer that was with Kevin in Sudan, explained that the plane Operation Lifeline Sudan had just landed and the photographers were told they had thirty minutes until departure, the time it would take to unload and distribute the food. This was Kevin’s first experience with a famine situation and as a result he was fixated on taking shots of the emaciated children. The parents of the children were gathering food from the plane so had only left them unattended for a short time. A vulture had landed behind this particular girl; in order that Carter could get the two in focus he had to slowly creep forward to within about ten meters away, he took several photos and then scared the bird away.
Carter was heavily criticized for not helping the girl and the St. Petersburg Times ran a story exclaiming of Carter: “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 fate of the girl remains unknown, however 16 months later on 27th July 1994 Kevin Carter took his own life.
This is the photo.
There is a desire for a happy ending to this story but in a world where 3 billion of our brothers and sisters continue to live in poverty, there is no happy ending.
The saddest thing about this image is not the girl but that with all our skill and ability as a species we would live in a world where it is even possible to get a photo like this. Sadder yet is that 19 years latter this is still happening.