Cammy Revisits: Camp at Night 2011

Here's some Cammy lore I've never told online. Between 2009 and 2011, I'd spend a few weeks each year at summer camp! Admittedly, it was a camp for special needs kids (not just mentally, there were some otherwise-normal kids who were just in wheelchairs there too), but I didn't care, it was nice! Sprawling property, very secluded in upstate New York, big pool, zipline, trips into town, lots of dark, highly sensory places to hide out. My folks always pegged me as a very indoorsy type—but I always relished each couple weeks there.

I can get philosophical about the sort of "fog" autism puts you in, that childish myopia when you're a kid that a lot of autistic people never grow out of. Coming back home in 2011, my family split violently, I was suddenly very aware of being the weird kid in the room for the first time, and I grew up quick. To me, camp was the last place I truly knew that fog. I'd never trade friends or money or independence for anything, but yeah, I miss the naivete, and maybe in some ways, I miss the isolation too.

Digging through some of my discs a couple of years ago, I discovered a little artifact from camp that I doubt has even been seen since 2011. I made quick friends with the camp photographer while I was there; I fondly remember playing with TenFourFox on his G4 PowerBook in his office while he sorted all the shots he took that day on one of those sharp aluminum Mac Pros, and as a precocious Mac geek, man, it was heaven. Anyway, a couple times, he took some of us higher-functioning and older kids into the night with DSLRs and flashlights and let us toy with some long-exposure night photography. After we were all done, he burned all the shoots to DVD-Rs and sent us home with them.

What I found was the DVD-R I got, labeled "Night Photography" in what looks to be my handwriting in ballpoint pen—and yes, it still reads perfectly (though I've obviously since backed up the contents to other media).

These were labeled "Night Shoot 1" and "Night Shoot 2". Given the dates attached to the photos, I suspect the first shoot was one I wasn't present for; I remember going in August that year, during the last camp session, while July was the previous session. "Night Shoot 2" is far more visually interesting, and we got a lot more creative with the aperture settings, playing with lights, using ourselves as subjects in the shots, and even doing some crude shot blending, not just drawing with the flashlight beams (though shoutout to the kid who tried to write "boner" and almost managed it).

This wasn't everything we shot, but this is all the good stuff. I've neglected to add alt text and titles to the following images; they're so abstract, I can't describe them anyway. I love looking at them still. These may be some of the oldest surviving Cammy creative work—largely because I forgot about it and thus couldn't destroy it as a teenager. But that's frustration for another time. Enjoy the colors!

"Night Shoot 1" (July 6-7, 2011)

"Night Shoot 2" (August 9-12, 2011)