The Vulture And The Little Girl | A Rudiment Of Carter's Death

By Sourav Ghosh - August 12, 2018

"The vulture and the little girl" is an utterly pathetic photograph of a famine-stricken starving boy – initially believed to be a girl – being preyed upon by a vulture. Taken by the renowned South African photojournalist, Kevin Carter in his trip to South Sudan, this iconic photograph has also been known as "Struggling Girl" and was first appeared in The New York Times on 26th March 1993, shaking the whole world to the core.

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"The vulture and the little girl"  by Kevin Carter
Thousands of questions were raised to know whether the little child had survived and many even contacted the News Paper. But the paper responded through an unpleasant clearance note saying that the child garnered enough strength to walk away from the vulture but her ultimate fate was not known!

It was strictly prohibited for journalists in Sudan to touch the victims of famine for avoiding the risk of transmitting diseases. So that, Carter could not do anything for the poor child who was left by his parents to pick food from a United Nations' plane nearby.


Carter confessed that he waited 20 minutes for the vulture to fly away and when it didn’t, he took the memorable photograph and chased away the vulture.

However, Carter came under a lot of criticism for not assisting the forlorn child. The St. Petersburg Times wrote this about him: 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.

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Photojournalist: Kevin Carter
Carter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for this imperishable iconic photograph but couldn’t enjoy it because he regretted not helping the miserable child, and he was so emotionally distraught inside that 3 months later on July 27th, 1994, he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 33, leaving behind a crucial suicide note and portions of the note read:

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

The final line is a reference to his recently deceased colleague Ken Oosterbroek.

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