fancy film cameras, lenses and lighting gear.
We develop black-and-white film on site, scan
it and have a large-format printer for all of the
campers to use to print their project on the
final day, which turns into a gallery to show off
everyone’s work. Camp counselors are also
on site to help everyone with creative blocks,
technical assistance and dating advice.
It has given us relationships with fellow
photographers that have even joined our
Chellise Michael Photography team, and we
get what everyone else gets out of it: a break
from clients and our work brains. This is the
time to hit the reset button and remember why
we picked up our cameras in the first place.
—Chellise Michael and Michael Busse
î Quyn Duong: One night, I heard a low
rumble coming from the other side of the
house. Like a war cry, a group of campers
were chanting, “The developers are
developing!” as they rushed through the
house shaking their film tanks. We all ended
up smushed at the end of the long hallway,
crammed in a tiny bathroom as they dumped
out their chemicals
and unrolled their
freshly processed film.
For some, it was their
first time shooting
film, but even for the
it was invigorating to
hold their negatives in
the light and see the
photos come to life.
î Eileen Meny: When I realized what I was
trying to do with my project, I immediately
didn’t want to do it. Then the “if you’re afraid
of it, you have to do it” instinct kicked in.
Camp Go Away happened in November,
which was the end of my wedding season and
a week after the U.S. presidential election. I
mostly photograph weddings and children. I
am 31 and single, but yes, I would like to get
married and also have kids. While I do love
my job and business, spending all my time at
weddings and photographing children can
make me feel incredibly lonely, and in dark
moments, a complete failure. The results of
the election made me double down on these
feelings. I ended up making a self-portrait of
how I felt as a woman that week.
î Eleanor Dobbins: I came into Camp Go
Away with an idea to create minimalistic
black-and-white self portraits. The first day
was torture; I realized that I wasn’t alone
after taking a break to talk with other
campers. We were all struggling through
the creative process together. It was
amazing to watch everyone hit their low
points before having their breakthrough.
Perseverance really was the only way
through. I just kept on shooting despite
wanting to give up. It worked.
î Jillian McGrath: I’m that person who throws
themselves fully into their business, and as
much as I want to create
a personal project and
complete it, it always
gets put on the back
burner. I had no idea how
I was going to be able
to create something that
really came from my heart
in such a short amount
of time, but he moment I
stepped away and took in the creative energy
that was in the space, that was when things
really started to click.
î Autumn Adams: I was inspired by the
work of Jeff Newsom for my project. I had
an idea how to make it happen but had
never even come close to trying anything
like this; I had never used a Pixelstick before.
Daniel Orren, Camp Go Away’s lighting
master, was there to give me a tutorial on
how to use it, which blew my mind once
I saw the test shots in camera. I had the
help of three other campers (including my
model) to create my project, all of which
were more than happy to do so. For the 2016
group photo, everyone was asked to wear
a completely white outfit. We walked down
to the old tennis court on the property, laid
down in a big circle, joining hands so that
from overhead we would look like a circle of
paper doll cut-outs. We goofed around as a
group after that, taking more photos of all
of us, probably looking like a cult, but who
cares. I drank all the Kool-Aid.
This is the time to hit
the reset button and
remember why we
picked up our cameras
in the first place.