The picture is real as is the story
of the photographer's suicide, but the alleged wording of his
suicide note is fabricated.Last updated 8/10/05
Kevin Carter was a South African photojournalist.
The picture of the vulture stalking a starving girl is real and was
taken in Sudan in 1993.
He was awarded Pulitzer prize in May of 1994 for the picture.
Two months later he connected a hose to the exhaust pipe of his
pickup truck and committed suicide.
His long time friend Judith Matloff wrote in the Columbia Journalism
review that Carter was the kind of person who seemed more affected
by some of the violent events he photographed.
She says that he would often return from upsetting assignments with
bouts of crying, drinking, or using drugs.
She says that after he shot his Pulitzer prize winning picture, he
"sat under a tree and cried and chain-smoked" and couldn't
distance himself from the horror of what he saw.
He was criticized for not helping the girl in the picture and said
he did not know what happened to her.
In his suicide note he said he was "depressed...without
phone...money for tent...money for child support...money for
He also said he was haunted by vivid memories of killings, corpses,
anger, pain, starving or wounded children, and trigger-happy
The eRumor includes a comment about world hunger that was created by
someone along the way who decided to turn the picture into a lesson
about not wasting food.
Such wording was not included in Carter's suicide note.