Stalking Vulture

Photo by Kevin Carter. In March 1993 Carter made a trip to southern Sudan. The sound of soft, high-pitched whimpering near the village of Ayod attracted Carter to an emaciated Sudanese toddler. The girl had stopped to rest while struggling to a feeding center, whereupon a vulture had landed nearby. He said that he waited about 20 minutes, hoping that the vulture would spread its wings. It didn’t. Carter snapped the haunting photograph and chased the vulture away . However, he also came under heavy criticism for just photographing — and not helping — the little girl:

The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this 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 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.

On April 2, 1994 Nancy Buirski, a foreign New York Times picture editor, phoned Carter to inform him he had won the most coveted prize for photojournalism. Carter was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography on May 23, 1994 at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library.


12 Responses to “Stalking Vulture”

  1. February 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I agree the photo is striking, but I also am dismayed at the photographer’s lack of compassion for this poor little girl. For me, LIFE would ALWAYS win in lieu of a photo op. I think it is wrong that he won an award for such behavior! It would have taken so little to help this toddler. That is what I would have done in the same situation. I could not have simply walked away. This man has no soul.

    • November 7, 2010 at 9:17 pm

      well Kevin Carter did commit suicide and he did follow the young girl to the village she was trying to get to. chances are that she survived but after she made it to safety carter felt no need to stick around. according to documentation. also what behaviour are you talking about? he won an award for showing the injustice and cruelty that went on during the apartheid in south africa so that middle and upper class citizens such as you could see and understand what goes on in other countries. also who are you to say if someone has a soul or not? get your fucking facts right before you go calling out a man who had more compassion for the souls of africa than probably anyone else in his time. he took the pictures no one else wanted to take, so that people would understand their world, their life, and their struggle.

      yeah you would have helped but theres millions of dying kids all over the world with not enough resources to deal with. he’s a fucking photographer and your a hypocrite unless you jump on a plane tomorrow fly to south africa and help.

    • 3 kirsten
      February 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      i do agree with you ryan but what if there is diseases on the kid and if you did save and you died the kid still had a bad chance of dying

  2. March 1, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I remember when this photo hit the press, and I remember that quote from the St. Petersburg Times. It really was quite an uproar.

  3. March 2, 2010 at 7:02 am

    I agree it really is quite a shocking photo. I think the photographer committed suicide a few yeas after this was taken. Apparently he was warned not to approach the children for fear of disease, but I agree if I was in his situation I wouldn’t of had the conscience to just walk away.

  4. 7 bkkbrit
    October 31, 2010 at 4:37 am

    He DID help the little girl (you really need to do your research better before writing). After he took the shot, he chased the vulture away and took the girl to the feeding center.

    Really. Bad writing here.

    • December 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      I have read several accounts of what happened with this photograph but I have not read a single one that says he took the girl anywhere. Some accounts say that the girl did make it to a food station, but nowhere have I read that Carter actually took the girl there.

  5. 9 seriously?
    November 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    i think it’s funny that you guys place some of the blame on the photographer (kevin carter), who despite not helping the girl in the picture, has probably done more for the cause then what you all have done.

    it’s easy to place blame on others and say that we would had done things differently given if we were placed in their shoes. but the reality is we wouldn’t, most people don’t, and many still continue not to today.

    just my two cents.

    • December 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      Havnt placed blame anywhere. I agree with you in fact. I have no idea how I would react under those sort of circumstances and certainly dont have any ill feelings towards Carter for not helping.

  6. 11 Ken D'Ambrosio
    April 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Chris Hondo — one of the photographers recently killed in Libya — snapped a similarly compelling shot: a young girl, spattered in the blood of her parents, wailing her dismay; for whatever reason, her parents hadn’t slowed when approaching an Iraqi checkpoint, and the car was attacked. I was incredibly touched by the photo, and wrote an e-mail asking if he knew what had become of her. He graciously replied with substantial detail; in a sense, too much. Her brother had been wounded in the attack. He was eventually flown to the US for an operation that fixed him up pretty well… whereupon he returned to Iraq, and was killed by sectarian violence.

    While I’m unable to imagine that kind of suffering, it needs to be reported, and told. I’m not sure what drives those photographers, but theirs is not a mission without need. And to have Chris so obviously care that he took the time to write me, a random stranger, was deeply appreciated. Perhaps the Kevin Carters out there could use Chris as an example.


  7. 12 R B
    August 18, 2011 at 6:29 am

    I disagree with what most are saying, that they would have done more. This was his profession. He was accustomed to seeing this horror everyday. Should he help every child, every day? Is it his job to do this? His obligation? It is funny how people assume that they would have acted differently, without ever stepping foot in Africa. What he did by taking the photograph accomplished much more than he could have done for that girl. He brought this tragedy to the front pages of every newspaper in every home. And he was rightfully commended for doing so. R.I.P KC

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This blog is a collection of photos I have found around the internet. From famous battles, great sporting moments or just anything I find to be thought provoking. I do not take credit for any of the photos and any uncredited photos are because I have been unable to find the photographer/artist. Enjoy :) Mirror Eyes - Blogged

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