This photo represents the vulnerability of starving children and how desperately they need help.
The African girl is the focal point of this image. She is crouched down on the open land with her elbows, hands and head touching the dirt, while her feet stand firmly on the ground. Her face is not shown so one cannot see the expression on her face. The girl is very small and must be between the ages of 3 and 6. Based on her physical appearance, she appears to be resting due to exhaustion and/or extreme hunger. In the distance, there is a vulture standing about 7 feet behind the girl. The vulture’s wings are down, its mouth is closed, its feet are sturdy on the ground and its eyes are set on the helpless girl in front of it. In the background, there are trees. The setting seems to be very dry and hot due to the dried dirt both the girl and vulture are resting on, the scattered brown/dead grass and foliage and the bright sun.
This photograph can be interpreted as such that the vulture is waiting and planning to attack the young, weak, tired and starving African girl. Since the girl is alone and appears to be too thin to have the energy to run away, her vulnerability to becoming prey to the vulture is high. The fact that she is so young also serves to emphasis the message of this photograph that these innocent and helpless starving children need help. They have very little chance for survival, increasingly so when they are by themselves. The image provokes shock and sadness, which will hopefully cause people to realize the severe situations and harsh conditions some children are forced to live with. Unfortunately, many children die every day due to starvation. The photograph is a metaphor for Africa’s despair. The fact that it depicts another way a child’s life can end illustrates how much suffering a helpless child can go through. Carter captures an extremely devastating situation on film, hoping to get the message out that these starving children are vulnerable and are desperately in need of our help.