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.