Saturday, May 19, 2007

WTF: "War Doesn't Determine Who Is Right, War Determines Who Is Left"

-Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), philosopher, author, and 1950 Nobel Prize-winner for Literature

While perusing Shoutwire earlier this evening I came across this Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken during the famine in Sudan in 1994. The child shown is crawling towards a U.N food camp with a vulture lurking in the background. The camp was more than a kilometer away and no one knows whether the child made it. The photographer, Kevin Carter, left the area immediately after this photo was taken. He committed suicide three months later due to depression.

Photographer Haunted by Horror of His Work

Obituary: Kevin Carter 1960 - 1994

Johannesburg - Kevin Carter, the South African photographer whose image of a starving Sudanese toddler stalked by a vulture won him a Pulitzer Prize this year, was found dead on Wednesday night, apparently a suicide, police said yesterday. He was 33. The police said Mr Carter's body and several letters to friends and family were discovered in his pick-up truck, parked in a Johannesburg suburb. An inquest showed that he had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mr Carter started as a sports photographer in 1983 but soon moved to the front lines of South African political strife, recording images of repression, anti-apartheid protest and fratricidal violence. A few davs after winning his Pulitzer Prize in April, Mr Carter was nearby when one of his closest friends and professional companions, Ken Oosterbroek, was shot dead photographing a gun battle in Tokoza township.

Friends said Mr Carter was a man of tumultuous emotions which brought passion to his work but also drove him to extremes of elation and depression. Last year, saying he needed a break from South Africa's turmoil, he paid his own way to the southern Sudan to photograph a civil war and famine that he felt the world was overlooking.

His picture of an emaciated girl collapsing on the way to a feeding centre, as a plump vulture lurked in the background, was published first in The New York Times and The Mail & Guardian, a Johannesburg weekly. The reaction to the picture was so strong that The New York Times published an unusual editor's note on the fate of the girl. Mr Carter said she resumed her trek to the feeding centre. He chased away the vulture.

Afterwards, he told an interviewer, he sat under a tree for a long time, "smoking cigarettes and crying". His father, Mr Jimmy Carter laid last night: "Kevin always carried around the horror of the work he did." - The New York Times

Source: Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 30 July 1994

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