Vulture and Child (1993) is an unofficial title for a famous photograph that appeared in the New York Times. The picture was taken by South African photojournalist Kevin Carter, a member of the photographers’ group known as the Bang Bang Club, whose lives are currently the subject of the new movie, The Bang Bang Club, 2010.
The picture was taken while Carter was in Sudan during the famine crisis of 1993. It shows a vulture stalking a malnourished child, too weak to walk, and near death.
When I first saw the picture, the first thing I thought was, why isn’t he [photographer] helping the child. Carter said he waited twenty minutes for the vulture to spread its wings, which didn’t happen, and afterward, he chased off the vulture. He came under criticism for after the child died (not from the vulture), for not helping her.
The picture, as disturbing then as it still is now, was replicated in the 2004 Angelina Jolie movie Beyond Borders, when a famous woman played by Angelina Jolie spots a vulture preying on an emaciated child.
Of the photographer, the St. Petersburg Times in Florida said :
The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene.”
Carter received a Pulitzer Prize for feature photography in 1994, and committed suicide the same year, after allegedly suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression.