Carter’s daily ritual included cocaine and other drug use, which would help him cope with his occupation’s horrors. He often confided in his friend Judith Matloff, a war correspondent. She said he would “talk about the guilt of the people he couldn’t save because he photographed them as they were being killed.”
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Antonin Kratochvil talks about this general problem in one or more interviews. People from comfortable, middle class backgrounds often just can’t take it, and many turn to drugs and alcohol and ruin their lives over it. Kratochvil’s background (growing up in gulags, etc) conditioned him to be able to take it, he says. It’s something photographers who think they want to do this kind of work should think about, or at least realize if they find themselves not be able to handle it at some point. It’s not for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with that.