How we perceive spectacles (extra credit)

While reviewing the film Nope, digging down to its biggest theme of relationship between human and spectacle, the way different characters’ treat the spectacle made me relate to one of the most hotly debated photograph <The Vulture and the Little Girl> shot by Kevin Carter. In the photo, a frail famine-stricken child who had collapsed in the foreground with a hooded vulture eyeing him from behind. It was taken in South Sudan as the child was approaching its way to the UN for feeding aid, and Carter meant to use this photo to reveal the harsh living condition and struggle of African people, eager to raise people’s empathy and take some action to help. This picture won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography award in 1994, but Carter took his own life four months after winning the prize because of the criticism he received. People began this heated discussion on whether it’s morally correct for Carter’s first thought when he encountered such a tragic spectacle to be to raise his camera to capture such a stunning piece of artwork rather than to step forward to help the poor child. Some people argued that his picture indeed brought more attention to the difficulty of undernourished children and was astonishing enough to inspire more people’s empathy, but most people criticized him for ignoring the cry close at hand and using this sacrifice to help a further cry. Such debates are still frequently mentioned by people today and we are constantly looking for the correct attitude and response to spectacles in life and in the media.

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