The Controversial "Kevin Carter Vulture Photo"

The Controversial "Kevin Carter Vulture Photo"
The Sad Story Behind The Photo Of The Vulture And The Little Girl from

Introduction to the Photo

The “Kevin Carter Vulture Photo” is a disturbing and controversial photograph that was taken by South African photojournalist Kevin Carter in Sudan during the famine in 1993. The photo depicts a starving Sudanese child who is collapsed on the ground while a vulture waits in the background. The photograph won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 1994, but it also sparked a heated debate about the ethics of photojournalism.

The Backstory of the Photo

Kevin Carter was working as a freelance photographer for The New York Times when he traveled to Sudan in 1993 to document the famine that was affecting the country. He came across the scene of the child and the vulture while he was traveling with a group of journalists. According to Carter, he waited for 20 minutes to see if the vulture would fly away, but it did not. He eventually took the photograph and left the scene.

Read More

The Criticisms of the Photo

After the photo was published in The New York Times, it received widespread attention and criticism. Many people accused Carter of exploiting the child’s suffering and using the photo for personal gain. Some also argued that the photo did not accurately capture the reality of the situation in Sudan and that it perpetuated negative stereotypes about Africa.

The Impact of the Photo

Despite the criticisms, the “Kevin Carter Vulture Photo” had a significant impact on the public’s awareness of the famine in Sudan. The photo helped to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis and prompted many people to donate money to aid organizations. However, it also raised questions about the role of photojournalists in documenting and portraying suffering.

The Ethics of Photojournalism

The “Kevin Carter Vulture Photo” sparked a larger debate about the ethics of photojournalism and the responsibilities of photographers. Some argue that photographers have a duty to document and expose suffering, while others argue that they should not exploit or manipulate the subjects of their photos. The controversy surrounding the photo also raised questions about the objectivity of journalism and the impact of images on public opinion.

The Legacy of Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter tragically took his own life in 1994, just a year after winning the Pulitzer Prize for the “Vulture Photo.” His death was attributed in part to the stress and trauma of his work as a photojournalist. Despite the controversy surrounding his most famous photograph, Carter’s work continues to be recognized for its powerful impact and documentation of global issues.

Lessons Learned from the Photo

The “Kevin Carter Vulture Photo” serves as a reminder of the importance of ethical considerations in photojournalism. Photographers must balance their duty to document important events and issues with their responsibility to respect the dignity and privacy of their subjects. The photo also highlights the power of images to shape public opinion and influence social change.


The “Kevin Carter Vulture Photo” remains a controversial and powerful image that continues to provoke discussion and debate in the world of photojournalism. While it has been criticized for its ethical implications, it has also had a significant impact on public awareness of global issues. As we continue to navigate the complex terrain of photojournalism and media ethics, the lessons learned from this photo are more relevant than ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *