His Pulitzer Prize winning photo

vulture girl

The vulture and the little girl, 1993, New York Times, Kevin Carter.

The photo depicted here was taken on assignment by Kevin Carter in South Sudan.

In summary, the 1993 famine Carter covered in his photos were the result of an ongoing civil crisis between North and South Sudan (Murphy, 1993). The South of Sudan, suffering from starvation, consisted of the majority of black people of Christian faith. The army in the South was called the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, and wanted freedom from the Islamic government in the north because the people of the region were mainly Arab descent and Muslim. All movement of food was stopped from the North to the South, in retaliation (Marinovich and Silva, pg. 110). It was reported by the article that accompanied Carter’s photo, around the time Carter was there, 15 people per hour in South Sudan were dying from starvation (Lorch, 1993).

The story told by his friend Silva from the Bang Bang Club, who accompanied Kevin on his trip to Sudan, said Kevin heard whimpering and followed the sound. He saw a little girl trying to crawl to a feeding center. Trying not to disturb the vulture in the background, Kevin moved closer to take a shot and waited for the vulture to spread its wings, but it didn’t happen. After “20 minutes,” according to Silva, Kevin took the photos and proceeded to chase the bird away. Silva watched him as he went to a tree to sit and proceeded to cry while smoking several cigarettes.

“He was depressed afterward,” Silva recalled in an interview. “He kept saying he wanted to hug his daughter.”


After learning he won the Pulitzer prize in March 1993, Kevin Carter wrote to his parents back in South Africa:

“I swear I got the most applause of anybody. I can’t wait to show you the trophy. It is the most precious thing, and the highest acknowledgment of my work I could receive.”


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