Sunday, February 27, 2005

What the hell is this?

I found this as a forward, and I thought it would be appropriate to put it up here.

The photo is the Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan famine. The picture shows a famine stricken crawling towards a UN food camp located a kilometer away. The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat it. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months later he commited suicide due to depression.

This is what the Kevin Carter wrote:

Dear God,

I promise I will never waste my food no matter how bad it can taste and how full I may be. I pray that He will protect this little boy, guide and deliver him away from his misery. I pray that we will be more sensitive towards the world around us and not be blinded by our own selfish nature and interests.

I hope this picture will always serve as a reminder to us that how fortunate we are and that we must never ever take things for granted.

Just two points I want to make:

  • What kind of ethics do photojournalists have?
  • Why the hell did this photo win the Pulitzer Prize? He should not have been awarded the prize, since he lacked any sense of ethics.


Anuradha said...

Completely agree, not only this photograph been given a so called prestigious award, but it has been extensively used for the publicity of both the award and the photographer.


krish said...

hi, this photo should win the prize, because it is truth of the situation there. It dipicts the truth.

there are sticking rich people out there.. who waste their money
food is wasted in large quantities.

may be this picture can change those people...i am not entirely sure if it was used for the purpose.

dieing is not necessirly bad. so many species die everyday, so many are born. suffering is part and parcel of life.

at one short makes me break all my barriers and makes me wanting to run and feed the kid. it i bringing out love,(which when you feel the other person as yourself)

kudos to the photographer.

The Ignoramus said...

thats not the point. i do agree that the photo getting the prize made it famous. but ti think, it should have been in the nominations but denied the prize, because the prize after all goes to the photographer. On grounds of his lack of concern for the child, he shuold have been denied the prize. This reason should have been done.

Of course no point in talking about what should have been done. But awarding it the prize shows that the priority of the judges is wrong, at least, according to me.

A.G.Sudarshan said...

No. ... firstly, one thing i notice is that everyone here is saying "that photographer". His name was Kevin carter (as is written int he origianl post). by Adding a name to a blame it is assumed that u are blaming that person's personal character not his professional one. His personal life has been charted out quite well in this site :

there is one extract here.. "I had to think visually," he said once, describing a shoot-out. "I am zooming in on a tight shot of the dead guy and a splash of red. Going into his khaki uniform in a pool of blood in the sand. The dead man's face is slightly gray. You are making a visual here. But inside something is screaming, "My God.' But it is time to work. Deal with the rest later. If you can't do it, get out of the game." Says Nachtwey, "Every photographer who has been involved in these stories has been affected. You become changed forever. Nobody does this kind of work to make themselves feel good. It is very hard to continue."

The photograph was an instant of greed, benefitting from the award put a seal on it, but his sucide shows repentance and fear. not from that particualr photograph, but his life in general.

These are professional hazards. In corporates everyonr plays dirty, but they live by it. All war/riot journalists just take their work to the extreme. look at the person's whole life... not just one snapshot of it...

ann said...

It is very easy to cry foul at something that is so apparently wrong on the surface. But maybe we should pause for a moment and refrain from opinionating on something we do not know in entirety about - the circumstances surrounding the picture, the photograph and the prize.

ann said...

I meant the picture, the photographer and the prize.

Basu said...

So after all the hullabaloo what are most of us doing,yaking on the net perhaps.well one thing that is stated here is that the cartner's nomore in all likliness that kid's nomore have most of us started helping hungry beggers or destitutes lying half naked on footpaths (atleast thats the way it is in many indian cities and also many villages)just because theres a vulture close by doesnt mean others lying hurt or suffering on the streets are not closer to a same horror making a big deal about a snap just because its so seemingly striking seems very bourgois.OK that was cartners choice so he clicked far as pulitzer is concerned have they started doing active work for hunger in these stuations tremendously more after the snap?that money could have helped perhaps that kid more than cartner...and as if the pulitzer panel didnt know about the famine in sudan and they had to wait for cartner to come and show them this snap(unequal distrib of wealth and services is quite fact).well ive got a live situation here im on a honarariam not on a salary ...if i see some family living in hunger on the streets i am many a times not in a position to help (many atimes i doneven have the funds to take a picture and develop it...thats apart the point however).....cartner did it only time perhaps will tell if it was ok or not. As far as the pultzers are concerned ...cosmetic might be a harsh term ...but all the the same they are doing some thing

Who ever started this post. said...

if this image would not have won the prize nobody would of known about it probably. And Im glad that it did win because this is a very powerful picture that im pretty sure have touched a lot of people's hearts and have probably done something about it. And as the journalist that took this Im pretty sure he is not really glad he won that price for the picture since he took this picture he got so depressed that commited suicide, so there is no way he is getting a kick out of the picture.

Anonymous said...

this picture deserves its prize. how many photos have you seen that has made you think about these issues as much as this one has? in terms of ethics he may have chosen a wrong path for the sake of his own sanity. but it shoudnt offend anyone. it was taken to move you, these things happen everyday whether a photographer was there or not. in all fairness if we see this from a larger perspective including his death, it has taught us to question our own behaviour towards people in unfortunate situations.

pushkala said...

Well, i agree to the point that this picture doesnt deserve a PULITZER prize but i cant blame the photographer....afterall thats his PROFESSION.
All said and then, any profession has a tinge of selfishness instilled in the individual and this TINGE Was so visible in Kevin carter's case.

Anonymous said...

I see here that most of the people are not in favour of the Pulitzer Prize for this photograph. But what ever is shot in this photo is hair raising truth. We should not forget that this type of photo is one of the rarest kind which has really shocked the whole world.

The fate of the girl is still unknown but most people think that she was really taken by the vulture.

South African photojournalist Joao Silva, who accompanied Carter to Sudan, gave a different version of events in an interview with Japanese journalist and writer Akio Fujiwara that was published in Fujiwara's book The Boy who Became a Postcard.

According to him the vulture flew away after the photograph was taken.

But if Carter were such a cruel proffesional kind then he might not had been in depression which ultimately took away his life also. We should learn from his suicide that he was not happy with his award.

whokerz said...

he committed suicide he is a massive hypocrite, he quoted that he is going to appreciate his food and hence life.


he killed himself, he had an opportunity to make a difference in the world, and save himself from the growing guilt of walking away from the truth and leaving a child suffer.

he values his life through suicide kevin carter his situation is ironic, paradoxical , hypocritical but no way sympathetic