Kevin Carter was one of the gang of four fearless white South African journalists who captured worst side of apartheid in South Africa. These images of brutality were instrumental in creating an international outrage against apartheid. Later Kevin travelled to different parts of African continent to capture, famine, strife, poverty and sufferings.
The job of photojournalist is probably one of the most difficult jobs. They have to shoot with camera goriest of realities and most brutal deaths. This gang of brave young photojournalists known as “The Bang Bang Club” would often put themselves in the line of fire to come away with images of man killing man mercilessly. Through their photographs they did sensitize millions of people all around the globe and mobilize support and aid for the cause of apartheid and the poor in Africa.
It wasn’t easy to shoot such noir pictures. Kevin would often take drugs to numb his senses to cope up with his depression. It may have been difficult on his conscience to be a white man and a direct witness to the atrocities carried out by white people on blacks. Kevin’s personal life too was affected by his extreme moods and job pressures. Yet Kevin persisted and tasted success. But this very success became a fatal sting which he couldn’t survive.
Kevin Carter’s one image of famine in Sudan won him Pulitzer award and instant fame. He had captured one image of a starving girl being stalked by a vulture. The girl and her image tormented him. It seems after shooting the particular image Kevin had thought about his daughter, felt sick and had even cried. The girl meanwhile had scampered away to safety or maybe death. The image became very famous. But some hawkish critics questioned his sensitivity and priorities. It was said that instead of helping the girl Kevin had trained lens on her. But the truth was maybe he didn’t save that one girl but he did save many more girls with that one image which got international attention to plight of people of Sudan.
Kevin often contemplated committing suicide. It is not known whether this one image which got him international recognition tormented him. For every image of death he captured through his lens was dark and horrific. He even lost one of his close friends to this profession. His friend was shot while taking a picture of an encounter. Just within few weeks after collecting Pulitzer award at a glittering ceremony Kevin committed suicide. In his suicide note he did mention that he was haunted by the images he captured.
Every war photojournalist must suffer extreme depression. To be a mute witness to death is not easy. But it is important to capture noir reality frame by frame. The worst suffering must be recorded. The brutal beast inside man must be exposed.