It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But an amazing thing about pictures is that if we dissect a picture then each individual part also worth a thousand words. It often happens that a complete picture conveys a different meaning but when that same picture is cut into different pieces then each different part expresses a very different meaning. The reason it happens is each person has different point of view, ideology and background. Everyone perceives and interpret things in their own unique ways. Everybody sees things from different perspectives.
All these factors enable people to attach many meanings to a same thing which may be very contrasting or even very similar to meaning attach by other people. To explain things in a better way let’s consider the following part of a picture: This picture shows a child sitting on the ground. Now, different people will interpret this picture differently mostly depending on the perspective from which they are analyzing the picture. Some would say the child is resting on the ground; some would say the child is crying; some might feel the child is dead, and so on.
Many different things could be perceived about the picture if one is unaware about the origin of the picture. But, there are few things which can be speculated about the picture like the child in the picture is not in the best of health. He is starving. He is perhaps one of many poor African children which die every year due to lack of food and meditation. It is difficult to guess whether this child is a boy or a girl. This picture symbolizes the social issues of poverty, lack of resources and status; and conveys emotions of helplessness, misery and despair.
Now, let’s see the other part of this picture: This picture shows a vulture sitting on the ground. This image of vulture can be explained in different ways e. g. vulture is resting on the ground; he is watching something; or may be he is waiting for his prey to die, and so on. Vulture symbolizes selfishness, fear, opportunism, and exploitation of dead. This image can express different meaning. Often people are called vulture when they take advantage of the death of someone. Vulture is termed opportunistic since he is always in the hunt to take advantage of the weaknesses of others.
Now, when both these parts are put together to form the original picture then the resulting image is very shocking and disturbing one which is shown below: Actually this picture has a very unsettling story attached to it. This picture was taken by Kevin Carter during the Sudan Famine in 1993 and it won him Pulitzer Prize of photography (The ultimate in unfair). It shows a starving famine suffering child who was crawling towards the United Nations food camp. The child is actually a girl. She fell on the ground due to weakness but was still alive at the time of taking the picture.
A vulture came and she was waiting for the child to die so that he could eat her flesh. This picture created a very strong reaction and affected even strong hearted people. This picture says so many things, contains various emotional elements and symbolizes a lot of things. This is the reason this picture won the most prestigious award of photography. This picture made Kevin Carter very famous but he was also criticized heavily because he walked away from the scene and didn’t do anything to help the girl. No one knows what happened to the girl.
Carter was so depressed and troubled by the scenes he shot during the Sudan famine that he committed suicide shortly after receiving the prize. This picture conveys a strong message. It highlights the issue of poverty in a heart breaking manner. It makes us think about those people who are deprived of even the most basic needs of living. We watch different documentaries on TV while sitting in our living rooms but never do anything about it. We cannot even imagine the pain these people have to go through just to keep breathing.
This picture is a great example to show the power which images have over words. This simple image created such a huge impact which would not have been possible with thousand of words. This picture can be seen from multiple perspectives. It shows suffering, pain, deprivation of people of Africa specifically and people all over the world in general. Vulture in picture can also be symbolized as the major powers of the world that just watch dying poor people to exploit in politics rather than doing some revolutionary steps to help them.
We mostly tend to see only one side of the picture. We are made to believe that everything is perfect. But this image shows the other side which is terrifying, horrible, shocking and unsettling. This compels us to rise up and do something to improve the standard of living of other people just like us. Bottom line is, an image is superior over words. One simple image can create such an impact which otherwise require thousand words.
The ultimate in unfair. Retrieved from FlatRock Website: http://www. flatrock. org. nz/topics/odds_and_oddities/ultimate_in_unfair. htm