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Kevin Carter

Ghostdog 12 55
19 Feb 2006 5:20AM
I just recently saw the Pulitzer winning image by Kevin Carter. I was gobsmacked, this is one of the most powerful images that I have ever seen. RIP Mr Carter

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Boyd 14 11.2k 11 Wales
19 Feb 2006 5:27AM
Indeed it is a very moving image and possibly made even more poignant knowing that Kevin killed himself shortly after taking it due to depression.
User_Removed 12 279
19 Feb 2006 5:44AM
It is one of the world's iconic photographs. As Boyd pointed out, Carter's subsequent suicide made it even more poignant.

There has been a certain amount of exploitation of the photograph and biography of Kevin Carter - there's an interesting background to it here

People often talk about post-traumatic stress. Many war correspondants suffer from terrible depression and alcoholism - which is hardly surprising.
Hanners Plus
12 875 10 Ireland
19 Feb 2006 6:11AM
Wow. That makes you think, what a thought provoking image
MoWiz 13 114 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2006 6:22AM
That photograph has been etched in my mind from the first time I saw it, what made it even more shocking was the fact he didn't help her.
I can understand that photographers can't get involved with each and every situation, but I think he could and should have helped in this one.
User_Removed 12 279
19 Feb 2006 6:30AM
It's a difficut one though Mo. From what I've read, I would say that he was deeply affected psychologically at the time this image was taken. If he was depressed at this point then that would have also been a contributing factor - a sense of futility.

I don't think we should judge. The irony is that at least this image was a legacy - a record of a tragic event. I think that's noble. I also think it takes a certain personality to be able to record and work in this area and the people who do should be admired for giving us this image of the real world.
VinceJones 13 862 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2006 6:34AM
A very strong & sad image & my heart really does goes out for that child, if the subjects in this shot were reversed would it have the same effect?
MoWiz 13 114 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2006 6:56AM
Simon I agree with what you are saying on needing a certain personality, but in this particular case I think he could have helped. Its an extremely powerful image and I don't think that would have been lessened by the fact that he helped her.

Its a bit like another Iconic image of that naked Vietnamese girl running out of the flames of a botched up napalm bombing, the image still has huge impact, but the people on the ground helped her.

We are always human first, and sometimes your efforts will be futile, but can we say that in this case?
I don't think there are many people who could honestly say they would have left her there after taking the shot.

I have a feeling Kevin Carter would still be here today if he had helped her too.
kokobrown 14 1.9k Scotland
19 Feb 2006 7:59AM
Very powerful image that one.

First time ive seen it and the hairs on my arms are on end.

It must have been very difficult for him. Should he have helped her..possibly. But then what happens after that, you see someone in a difficult situation do you help them. You make judgements, is that person more worthy of being helped than another. We cant save everyone. Its like giving money to begging, starving, cold homeless people. Theres 3 on the same road, you only have 1 in your pocket. Who do you give it to if any?

Certianly makes me think.....

GlennH 13 1.9k 1 France
19 Feb 2006 8:10AM
Simon had it right IMO. It's absolutely impossible to pass judgement on the actions of someone that is psychologically disturbed and depressed.

Even at the best of times, depression completely saps people of motivation, energy, and hope. The symptoms are absolute - totally consuming. Recovery is usually extremely gradual, but living in day to day hopelessness must exasperate things enormously.
User_Removed 12 279
19 Feb 2006 8:14AM

Quote:I have a feeling Kevin Carter would still be here today if he had helped her too.

Yup! I think that's a valid point Mo. I do think his judgement was impaired but my guess is that the depressive illness was the contributing factor by this stage. It's a miserable story from both sides. He was certainly haunted by it.

Edit: just saw your post Glenn - didn't realise you'd covered it - good point.
GlennH 13 1.9k 1 France
19 Feb 2006 8:47AM
To be fair, I think it's arguable that he still might have saved the girl. Depression (and for my sins I've suffered from it twice) alters your rationality for sure, but doesn't put you totally beyond selfless acts.

I guess in Kevin's case, the feeling of futility (which is a symptom anyway) might easily have been magnified to a monumental level.

I'd be sceptical about the idea that he'd be alive if he'd saved the girl. Depression doesn't tend to have a 'get out of jail card' cure, however noble - it's gradual. In Kevin Carter's case I'd suspect that he'd need to be completely removed from his set of circumstances to have a hope of getting better.
User_Removed 12 279
19 Feb 2006 9:00AM
Again, I think you're right Glenn. Really well put. I guess it's a bit romantic of me to think it may have helped his self-esteem if he had saved the girl. It's certainly a fascinating speculation.

I guess the final proof that he wasn't well was his suicide - that's the definitive argument validating his impaired judgement.
joolsb 13 27.1k 38 Switzerland
19 Feb 2006 10:13AM
The question is, what can one person do? It takes medical knowledge to understand how best to help someone who may be suffering from chronic malnutrition and any help he might have offered could have made the situation much worse for the poor child.

We know little of the context of this shot and it is impossible to draw conclusions abot what might be right or wrong based on an image that shows just a limited fragment of time and space.

On a broader scale, it is a emotive picture and its wider impact may just help the flow of aid to Africa and in so doing may help more lives than just that of the child depicted. And that is justification enough, I think.

Let's not be so quick to judge from the comfort of our plush western homes, in front of our computers and with fridges and cupboards full of food.
GlennH 13 1.9k 1 France
19 Feb 2006 10:45AM
It doesn't take medical knowledge to carry a malnutritioned child one kilometer to a United Nations Camp though, which was apparently the scenario here.

We can't be judgemental, it's true, but without imagination our ignorance might often go unchallenged.

Being exposed to that much suffering must make it almost unconscionable to return to a comfortable life, even if it also represents the only possible return to sanity.

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