Sunday, 2 October 2011

Kevin Carter - Photo Journalist - b. 1960 in Johannesburg

Kevin Carter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for the tragic photograph of a emaciated Sudanese
 child trying to crawl to the feeding station whilst a vulture looks menacingly on. It has been stated that the mother was nearby and was getting food from a plane which had just landed.
This has never to my knowledge been confirmed. We will never know what happened to the girl in the image.
It is a very difficult image to comprehend indeed. Apparently his brief for this assignment was to
never disturb the natural events which were taking place in a community.

This has been and will continue to be a very controversial photograph, of this there can be no doubt. However many of Carter's photographs are tragic and document the most harrowing scenarios. It must have been incredibily difficult to maintain a distinction between 'right and wrong'. I imagine the line would become blurred after exposure to such violence, sadness and deprevation.

Did he 'do the right thing' by leaving the child to it's inevitable demise ? Over his career he raised global awareness to the plight of many devastating situations and saved the lives of many people.
The debate is a challenging one with, I suspect no end.

Kevin Carter paid the ultimate price - he committed suicide shortly after he won the Pulitzer prize in 1994.
The violence he'd encountered in his life as a journalist, in South Africa, became too much to live with.

I made to etching based on Carter's photograph. The format is elongated and narrow.

'you left me'
From my own personal point of view I found this hard to draw, difficult to look at objectively and incredibly sad and moving.
Making the first image was so emotional that I came to thinking  'what can I do to make this a different scene'. 
 I decided to make a second image of a chubby, able baby standing upright. A child who can fend off the vulture. The bird fly's high up into the sky leaving the child  in peace.

This is how the world should be - an ideal world where there is no tragedy and no one has to suffer.
Not the photographer doing his job and following his brief . . . . .  OR the defenseless child.

I am beginning a new series of works which this has been the catalyst for and I have to say I will be glad to leave these images be for the time being.

The new works will focus on fun aspects of childrens lives - games !

No comments:

Post a Comment