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Study Questions: Kevin Carter, What It Means To Be Inspired


Get into groups of four and have a conversation about the last time anyone inspired you. This doesn't have to be about someone you know personally, nor must this person necessarily be alive. However, it should be a real person, not a character from a story. For the purpose of this exercise, however, please refrain from using metaphysical and religious personages (Allah, Buddha, Jesus, God, Mohammed, Moses, etc.).
Based on this discussion, collaborate with your group on at least three "must have" qualities you feel all inspirational people or experiences possess.
Use these qualities to offer the class a single, unified definition of "inspiration." (Someone should be writing down the group's ideas and be prepared to report them to the class.) 


Discuss Kevin Carter's Pulitzer Prize-Winning photo, and whether or not you find the photo to be inspiration, based upon your group's definition.

Kevin Carter Sudan Photo


Discussion: Part One

Examine this example of photo journalism, taken in the Sudan in 1994.  Once you have offered your responses to this image, listen to this NPR interview:

Click hear for a PDF transcript of this interview.

Discussion: Part Two

Form groups of four (or, remain in the same small group you're already in) and take fifteen minutes to complete the following tasks. Agree on a note taker in the group who will record your responses and be ready to offer them to the class later:
  1. Based upon the facts that come to light in this interview, what is your reaction? Discuss whether or not you find the photo to be inspiration, based upon your group's definition. Is your definition the same or different from before? Why, or why not? Which is the most important for this photo’s affect on us, the child in the photo, the photo, itself as a work of journalism, or what you learn about the photographer and his reaction to this? Why?
  2. Based on our discussion of Kevin Carter and the controversial photo, discuss what you believe to be three good motives for becoming a war photo journalist. Then, what are three reasons NOT to become a war photo journalist? Why? What are the consequences of becoming a war photo journalist for the wrong reasons?
  3. When you are finished with these tasks, move to a discussion of Assignment 3 and begin exploring your possible topic choice for it.


Useful Resources

The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang-Bang Club (documentary film)

The Bang Bang Club Official Film Website

The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War

Bang-Bang Club, Wikipedia

Kevin Carter (Wikipedia)

Time Magazine article about Kevin Carter's death

Last Updated: 01/16/2016


Karl J Sherlock
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