Guns Down, Books Up

Back in May of last year, I was trying to get a name out for my newly started B&M Photography (a company name that I have abandoned for the most part for the more personal Mike Wade Photography), and I wanted to shoot a charity event. It was at this time a flyer popped up around my day job of “Guns Down, Books Up” charity event happening in Greensboro. I called the organizer and it just so happened to be someone that works at the same place I do. I work at a big place, so we didn’t really have much interaction before this phone call. I expressed on the phone that I am a photographer and am looking to shoot the event at no cost, just to have my cards there. He said that was great and they didn’t have a photographer yet. I then asked what charity are they raising money for. He paused for a second and then said “We’re not asking for money, all of this is coming out of my pocket.” “Okay” I said, ” but I’m not talking about making a profit, I mean what cause are you bringing awareness to?”

This confused discussion lasted a few minutes. After I figured out it was just a neighborhood cookout/local street ball ‘tournament’ it was too late. At the beginning of the call, I stated that I wanted to shoot for his event. He was excited and happy that I called. I just am not the kind of person to say never mind, your event is not what I am looking for, even though I wanted to say that. I wanted to shoot for a serious charity with a cause, not a get together.

I hung up and was stuck committed to the job.

I got there on time, talked with the organizer, and started taking candid shoots of the people that were there, the food that was cooking at the time, wide shots of the party. I was getting all my bases covered because I knew I wasn’t going to stay long.

Shortly after I arrived, my mood started to change. The people that were there immediately warmed up to me, kids and adult alike. I was offered food and drink, constantly was asked if I needed anything, constantly thanked for shooting the event. Everyone was so friendly and in an awesome mood, it made me get in a great mood. It also helped that I was getting great pictures of the kids practicing for the tournament that was about to start.

They were just about to pick teams, when the rain started to come down unexpectedly. Everyone was scrambling to get inside.

No one’s spirits were effected. There was still laughs and fun to be had inside the club house that they held the event at. After many times asked and several people offering, I took this time to finally give in and eat a plate of the amazing food that they had brought/cooked. I might have been half done with the food that I was scarfing down when the rain stopped. The clouds parted, and as quickly as that storm came, it left. I finished the delicious barbecue and sides, picked my camera back up and started shooting again.

At one point a few police officers showed up. My first thought was someone had called the cops due to noise, being a grouch, or racism. They happened to be neighborhood friends with some of the event goers and invited to come by during their lunch. They ate, and hung out for a bit before leaving.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay to see which kid won the trophies seeing that the event was going on far longer then expected and I had other engagements.

All in all, it wasn’t what I expected going into it, though in hindsight, it was an amazing experience with some of the best strangers I have ever met. The vibe was nothing but having a good time with neighbors and they brought me into that circle, as a person behind a lens, and in turn, even though I was on a ‘job’, I was having a good time right there with them. Everyone had fun.

Well, almost everyone…