Camp Photographer Fired for “Horrific” Picture of Child Not Smiling

Huron Lake, Pa (July 9, 2015) – It was a parent’s worst nightmare. It was an image that will never be erased from the memories of Stacey and Jon Hoffman of Short Hills, NJ. It was a picture of their daughter Cyndy playing the guitar without a smile on her face posted on the Camp Huron Lake website. For the suffering these parents have had to endure, British camp photographer, Nigel Rooney, 20, was fired and immediately driven to Scranton for his return trip to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Rooney had been one of the camp’s six photographers/videographers for the past two summers and had been responsible for thousands of beautiful color photos showing children playing, swimming, and interacting with one another in the bucolic surroundings of Camp Huron Lake. But why a veteran shutterbug like Rooney would not only take but actually post a picture of a girl not smiling is beyond comprehension.

For the Hoffmans, Rooney’s firing is a step in the right direction but the lasting image of their daughter neither smiling nor giving the thumbs up sign is something they won’t be able to forget any time soon. “It’s bad enough for us to see our beautiful daughter in a picture like that but for it to be posted for the entire world to see is an absolute embarrassment to not only us as parents, but to our entire extended family,” wept Mrs. Hoffman, “It’s downright cruel for us to see this photo of our baby and not be able to immediately call her to make sure she’s okay. That’s why we were forced to bombard the camp with two dozen emails, texts and voice messages.”

On the way to the airport Rooney was visibly shaken by his dismissal. Looking through the catalog of pictures stored on his camera he couldn’t help but think what he could have done differently. “I try to capture raw emotion from each camper. I want people to see that these kids aren’t smiling robot drones. But I supposed that backfired on me. You’re only as good as your worst picture I guess.”

Hours after Rooney arrived back in England, the Daily Camp News learned more about the horrific picture. Apparently, Cyndy was performing in the 2015 Camp Talent Show, singing James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” which chronicles Taylor’s struggle with drugs and depression. Additionally, Ms. Hoffman was the winner of the competition and earned each girl in her bunk a free Chipwich or frozen Milky Way at the canteen tomorrow.

7 Comments on "Camp Photographer Fired for “Horrific” Picture of Child Not Smiling"

  1. Maxine Ahmed | July 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Reply

    It was a mistake? To fire someone over 1 mistake at camp no less is pretty extreme ??
    That would not happen at NJY Camps/ Cedar Lake because my son Jared is one of the wonderful photographers

  2. This is so ridiculous. Shame on the parents first of all. A picture is relative. Smiling does not always mean happy, so who can decide what is a good picture or the picture that the parents want. If the girl would be crying or angry ok, you could ask, please take down that picture. It is a picture that for me shows more emotion than a smile. 2nd Shame on the camp for not sticking up for a staff member that has done great work apparently since they re hired him.
    3rd shame on the girl who is at least 13 or 14 and would accept that they fire him.
    Oh, and I am sure that the girl was soooo damaged by this photo that she probably wont be able to go to the University of her parents choice.
    Its time for parents to do a better job at parenting.

  3. Please tell m this is satire.

  4. Soooo beautifully hysterical. . .have to share this with my photographer buddies. . .the sad truth is, it’s not very far from some of the silly stuff people respond to us with. I have to ask, did you interview some photographers for this story? Hmmmmm.

    • Thank you for the compliment, Jordan. I wrote this without interviewing anyone…just used my experiences as a camper and now as a parent of a camper. Just curious, how did you find my site? (and i’m glad you did!)

  5. Sending him back home was clearly not enough. He should’ve been castrated as well. The balls on some people…

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