(1960 - 1994)
A South African photojournalist, Kevin Carter earned a solid reputation as one the foremost war photographers of his time. Covering conflict all over the African continent, he witnessed an enourmous amount of human suffering. It wasn't until he covered the famine in Sudan in 1992 though that he found the image that sealed his reputation and proved his undoing.
Attempting to get away from the thousands of starving, he took a walk away from the refugees. There was a low, plaintive crying sound from the bushes. There on the other side was a two-year old girl, crawling in the dirt, trying desperately to make her way to the feeding center. While crouching to photograph her, a vulture landed in the background.
Apparently, Kevin spent twenty minutes there crouching, waiting for the vulture to spread its wings. It didn't, and he took the photograph as it was. As it turned out, it's a much more powerful image - a hopeless child crawling in the dust, a hungry vulture waiting patiently, absolutely certain that it would have carrion soon. Afterwards, Kevin chased the bird away, sat under a tree, lit a cigarette, thought about his daughter, prayed to god, and cried.
The image became the icon of the Sudan disaster and won the Pulitzer prize for Kevin. It seemed like the start of an illustrious career - a role in a high-flying agency soon followed and prestigious shoots came rolling in. But behind all that was a feeling of intense guilt, which was shared by members of the public. "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering," said one commentator, "might as well be another predator, another vulture on the scene."
Four months after winning the Pulitzer, Kevin Carter was found in his pick-up truck, dead from carbon monoxide posioning. It wasn't just because of that photo - Kevin was a depressive person anyway, who had witnessed a lot of misery and suffering. There was a note in the car that read, "I'm really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist."
Third track on Everything Must Go by Manic Street Preachers.
Released as the third single from the album. The b-sides were Horses Under Starlight, Sepia and First Republic. The lyrics were written by Richey Edwards. By his standards they are unusally sparse, but the spiky guitar riff James added gives them a huge resonance.