I had the privilege Saturday to chronicle The Race for the Cure event in Greenville, SC. When Krista Bannister came by our store a few weeks ago and asked me for help, I knew I was being asked to be a part of something special.
Saturday, there were all kinds of photographers there, so I figure that most if not all of the expected usual photographs would be made and well covered for newspapers, etc.. So that being said, I photographed the event a bit differently. In my view, something like this is so much bigger than any one person. Yes, there are tons of thank yous due to all the people who selflessly volunteered to make it all happen. There are big thank yous due to corporations, runners and individual donors, etc… But what was it about this event which was so important to them? For a runner was it coming to the finish line first? For a business was it only the marketing and recognition that motivated them? Perhaps a few did it for this, but for most, I don’t think so. The photographs really speak to something else. See for yourself:
I focused on the overall event and not individuals. You will notice that many of my people photographs in this series are soft and blurred. It is intentional. I didn’t want the emphasis of this work to be any one person. I wanted it to be on how people working together can make a difference. When you see the images, I want you to see what happens when thousands of people put their mind to something and think big. No one person could have pulled something like this off. Yes, the origin of the idea came from a promise between two people, and change typically begins with one person who is willing to stand up. But at the same time, I wanted the viewer to see and understand the power of people coming together.
The day of the race, for me, was not about who would win the race. It was about what caused all these Greenville people showed up downtown so very early and what their motivation was.
The most beautiful people were not the young who were there volunteering. They were not the the runners, or the cheerleaders or the entertainment. The most beautiful people there were the ladies in pink. Greenville’s precious cancer Survivors. Inside and out they were a joy to talk with and be around. Each of these ladies in pink had survived a very tough battle in life; breast cancer. I can’t say that I have a clue what it must be like to have made it through such a trial. I can’t begin to understand what they and their families have lived through. But standing there and having my small understanding of what they were able overcome amazed me and sent chills down my spine. As I looked into the eyes of each of these girls, there was something very special about them. It made me appreciate life, but even more it made all of my supposed-trouble seem so very small and unimportant. I am grateful to have been with them.
This summer, one of our brides Ruthie Nichols-Ivester was diagnosed with Breast Cancer just before her wedding. Right after her honeymoon, she went into treatments. She is currently taking treatments and seems to be doing well (thank goodness). When things like that happen, it really draws you closer to a cause and brings awareness.
These girls in Pink are wonderful people. After being around them a bit, I realized that I have known some of these ladies for years. Some are new acquaintances. Each of us somehow are connected to them. These women are our friends, family and neighbors. They all have a very special place in my heart. A tough an wonderful group of girls.
There is a photograph of one pink balloon that is flying away. As I watched it float away, I wondered who did that balloon represent?
Thank you Krista for allowing me to be a part of something so cool and so important!