Millions of photos are taken around the world every day, but how many of them live forever in people’s minds?
The picture above is one that most people have seen, but few know the tragedy that followed.
Photographer Kevin Carter took this photo in South Sudan in 1993 and it was published in an American newspaper.
At the time, Sudan was in dire straits due to famine and civil war, and during a visit to a village, he took a picture of a child with a vulture perched near it.
Journalists and photographers in South Sudan during this period were advised to avoid touching people due to the risk of epidemics.
Because of this advice, instead of helping the child, Kevin Carter spent about 20 minutes waiting for the bird to fly away.
When this did not happen, the photographer scared the vulture away and watched the baby move on, refusing to help even then.
It was initially thought to be a girl, but years later it was claimed that it was a boy, although the truth is unclear.
After the photo was published, the photographer was criticized for refusing to help the child.
Later media reports claimed that the child somehow survived and died of malaria 14 years later.
The photo won the Pulitzer Prize, but the criticism affected the photographer so much that he committed suicide in July 1994.
People were more critical of why the photographer waited so long to take pictures and why he avoided helping the child.
Due to this public criticism, the photographer committed suicide at the age of 33 by carbon monoxide poisoning in a car in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He wrote in his last post that ‘memories of carnage, corpses, anger and pain have followed me like a demon’.
According to the post, he was struggling with debt and depression, and that’s why he was committing suicide.
Prior to his suicide, Kevin Carter’s friend Ken Osterbroek was also killed while covering an armed conflict in Johannesburg, which also affected his mental state.
Kevin Carter’s father said his son was always haunted by the horrors of his work and that the burden eventually became too much.