The feature image belongs to Kevin Carter/Megan Patricia Carter Trust, Sygma - Corbis (edited).
This post deals with suicide and might be triggering for some readers.
It is one of the most haunting photographs ever taken. A starving Sudanese toddler, arms and legs barely more than bones, huddles on the parched dirt, too weak to move. Nearby, a vulture watches and waits.
The photo, known as The Vulture And The Little Girl, was taken by Kevin Carter in 1993. It won him a Pulitzer Prize. But just four months after he was awarded the prestigious honour, he died by suicide. He was 33.
"I'm really, really sorry," he wrote in a note he left behind. “The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist."
So who was Carter and what led up to him taking his own life?
Carter was born in South Africa. His parents were of English origin, and he lived in a well-off suburb of Johannesburg. But growing up, he was disturbed by the way he saw police treating black people. His mother Roma remembers him getting very angry about it.
“He used to have arguments with his father: 'Why couldn't we do something about it? Why didn't we go shout at those police?’” she told Time.
Carter started studying pharmacy, but dropped out and was conscripted into the South African Defence Force. He hated it, and fled to Durban to become a DJ. After losing his job, he took an overdose of pills along with rat poison, but it wasn’t enough to kill him. He finished his service, found a job at a camera shop, and from there, got into photojournalism.
Carter was one of a group of young white photojournalists who were willing to risk their lives to expose the violence raging in South Africa. He and three others – his best friend Ken Oosterbroek, Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva – were known as “the Bang-Bang Club”.