Weird History

The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photo So Emotionally Devastating, The Photographer Took His Own Life

Many people are familiar with this picture from the South Sudan famine, but few know that the tragedy reaches far beyond the picture itself – it extends to the photographer, Kevin Carter. The photo of a starving Sudanese boy struggling to reach a food center, watched patiently by a hungry vulture, conveys a heartbreaking subtext; however, the details of the events leading up to the image, as well as the photographer's life following its capture, make it one of the most striking and complex stories of human suffering in the modern era. 

In 1993, Kevin Carter snapped the now famous photo in South Sudan while covering the famine plaguing the country, as well as the international relief efforts in response. When the picture first appeared in The New York Times, it ignited a firestorm that included both condemnations and congratulations for Carter. Most notably, the photo won him the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography. Not long after, Carter took his own life, unable to process the horrors he had witnessed in South Sudan. His end adds yet another layer of tragedy to this somber tale.