Monologue based from a piece of artwork: Untitled
(Kevin Carter, 1994)
You know, they think I’m depressed but I’m not. I always smile. I smile when funny things happen and I laugh when jokes are funny. I smile when people talk to me but they don’t know a thing. I feel lost, alone. I feel nothing.
I often hurt myself, for attention you know, just to be noticed. To see if I can feel being here and not invisible. I feel like people dislike me. Actually I feel they hate me. I can feel their hatred. They wouldn’t care if I’m alive or dead. Maybe they would even laugh if I’m dead. They are already laughing at me, talking bad about me. These mass media monsters who don’t know the real me and still try to judge.
They think I don’t know because I don’t show. I hide it well. These dark feelings; this depression that pains me inside everyday. It is slowly killing me. Killing my emotions first then my soul. But I act so well. I look so alive but feel nothing inside. At first, I tried getting used it but I could not. I tried ignoring them, pay no attention to the dark thoughts swirling in my head but the more I tried, the stronger they grew. Now, I don’t even want to eat. My life is ruined.
I miss the old days so much. They had the happier me. Kevin without pain or darkness. My dreams were much clearer and brighter. I chased them and did well. I photographed amazingly. I even won prizes so many dream of. I have everything I want because of that picture. I won them all, I was rich and no one could stop me. How funny that my talent in photography led me to a sea of pain that I’m drowning in.
I still remember the day I took that photograph that helped me win the Pulitzer Prize. I was in Sudan, East Africa. The streets were empty and strong winds blowing dust all around. I suddenly saw a figure on the ground. I thought it was a small animal but I realized it’s a human being, a little girl. She was so tiny, so weak. Was she dying? When I looked at the girl crouched on her knees, I wanted to go near and carry her to safety but I was scared she might have diseases.
Just then, a vulture came close and stared at her like it was ready to eat her anytime. I had seen dying people before, but never one so young . . .
Still, I took the photo. That is what I do, right? My “job” . . .
I am Kevin Carter, a photographer, not Mother Teresa.
These images I photographed will not leave me alone. Not even when I close my eyes to sleep at night. They haunt me – memories of people killed, dead bodies on the ground, anger and pain in people’s eyes I have photographed, and even my most famous photo where the little girl was going to be attacked by the vulture anytime and yet I just walked away without caring if she would die or live – it all haunts me.
I asked myself why. Why am I so depressed? I’ve lost my peace. Deep down I know that even though I have taken the best photos, I did not do anything helpful or human at all in those moments. I did not want to help. I just watched and photographed. These people suffered, died, and I could not change anything. What could be worse now? I don’t even have money for rent and may have to live on the streets soon.
I don’t need prizes nor awards. I don’t need recognition from people. I just need peace and happiness. Bring me back to my old life and self where I didn’t know so much pain.
Nothing scares me anymore. My arms and body are full of scars from cuts I have made on myself. It does not even hurt anymore. If I had the chance to leave everyone now, I would take it without a second thought.