I went to the NRA convention without a particular story in mind that I wanted to tell, but within minutes of being inside the Indian Convention Center I figured it out. I would mainly focus on the many children I saw. It was very interesting to witness their absorption and interactions with the enormous amount of weapons on display.

When I document my objectives, it’s always the same: I want to tell important stories through imagery while creating the most thought-provoking pieces of art! I also want to try to hopefully make you feel like you were with me as I experienced the journey. I’ve come to think that the only way for me to provide such an experience is to make sure that I expose myself to situations that a lot of people might deem too dangerous for themselves (even me.). JUST guns, right? Right?!

Staying away from what I don’t understand is always boring! I love to document the unapproachable, I love going to places where you might say “oh helllllll nawwww!” When is the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone? I do it all the time so that I can so I can show you what’s what through my lens but I can’t do this forever.

So, I challenge you. I challenge you to expose yourself with your mind open, to something new. That one thing you said “oh hellll nawwww. I would never!” Go document, go chat, go look! You might not agree with anything you may learn but at least you learned you have the power to educate yourself through exposure and for the most part, exposure for free! Learn so you can teach! Feel free to go document! Feel free to go! Make today the day you say yes!

Guns, Love, Children: America, Stay Woke.

Artist Bios

  • Mel D. Cole

    NYC based, and Syracuse, NY raised, a self taught award winning photographer, director and host Mel D. Cole is one of the world’s most accomplished and celebrated photographers with a career spanning 20 years. He originally became notable for his black and white photographs NYC downtown scene, hip hop concerts and artist including The Roots, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z and many others.

    Cole later branched into photojournalism, documenting the George Floyd protests in various cities in 2020-2021 and the January 6 United States Capitol attack in Washington, D.C. in 2021. He was named the “Editorial/Press Photographer of the Year” at the 2021 International Photography Awards.

    Cole’s love for soccer led him to open Charcoal Pitch F.C: the first and only Black owned soccer specific photo agency in the world dedicated to creatively exploring soccer visually and educationally through a multiracial visual lens.

    Cole has published two books to date: GREAT: Photographs of Hip Hop in 2020 and American Protest. Photographs 2020-2021 in 2021.

    Cole’s most recent works can be seen on his Instagram page @meldcole


  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

Guns, Love, Children: America, Stay Woke.

 archive : 2023

Featuring: Mel D. Cole

Presented by: Photoville
  • Photoville


ON VIEW AT: Container 4

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Brooklyn, NY 11201

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