By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
“We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”
Credit for this great photography quote above is given to anonymous. I know it’s a great photography quote because when I googled “great photography quote,” this was the first quote that appeared.
When I googled, “great videography quote,” I couldn’t find a quote that I liked, so I simply tweaked the above quote, re-writing it, which makes it no longer anonymous.
“We take video as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”
Roughly three years ago, as hiring for our 2013 Summer Camp Staff was underway, an application arrived from a photography student in New York. She applied to be a counselor – we instead asked her to be Camp’s first-ever full-time photographer. Oh, she had experience making videos, too? Perfect. Let’s ask her to not only be Camp’s first-ever full-time photographer, but also our first-ever full-time videographer, as well.
An experience at Camp Gray is filled with hundreds, if not thousands of memorable moments each day. For the past three summers, and for the better part of the past two school years, Molly Sweeney has been joyfully capturing the moments that make Camp Gray Camp Gray.
It’s a bittersweet time for Molly, and for us at Camp, because a few weeks back, she accepted a video-editing job in Colorado at the Augustine Institute. This is Molly’s last week at Camp Gray before she heads west on Friday. We’re thrilled for Molly as she embarks on this new journey. We’re also no doubt sad that she’s leaving.
Time at Camp Gray is finite. None of us can stay here forever. This is a somber truth, but also an exciting truth. It’s somber for obvious reasons. It’s exciting, because it means it’s time to journey down to the valley – to share the light of Christ with others. (Though, while she’s leaving the figurative Camp Gray Mountain to journey down to the figurative valley, she’s in reality leaving the low-altitude of Wisconsin to journey to the actual mountains of Colorado – that valley and mountain analogy kind of just backfired on us…)
A few summers back, a former Camp Gray staffer wrote a letter to our staff. It read, in part:
“You have but a small and limited time at Camp Gray. Even staff members that serve for five or six years only account for a tiny fraction in the life of Camp. We come, we serve, we move on. This is the legacy of a Camp Gray staffer.”
The unnamed former staffer continued:
“This does not mean that your contribution to Camp Gray is small in any way; in fact, you are doing nothing less than changing the world.”
Molly’s contribution to Camp Gray has indeed been anything but small. Over the course of her time capturing the moments of Camp Gray, Molly estimates that she’s taken approximately 100,000 photos. That’s a whole heap of moments.
When Molly began at Camp Gray, our YouTube Channel had merely 47 videos. Today, as I write this article, Camp Gray Films proudly presents more than 180 videos for your enjoyment, featuring hit shows like The Cassidy Talk Back Sessions, 12 Days of Musical GRAYtness, The Couch Sessions, Summer Camp Highlight Videos, et al.
When I first sat down to write this story, I intended to pound away at the keyboard for approximately 12,000 words. There are dozens of stories and lots of inside jokes I could share about Molly’s time at Camp Gray (like how Molly naively disagrees with me when I confidently proclaim that Microsoft Paint is the greatest computer program in the history of man. Paint. Microsoft Paint.).
It then dawned on me that the best way to thank Molly was to display with gratitude, for all to see, dozens of her photos and videos. (And since a picture is worth a thousand words, and videos must be worth even more, this blog post is equivalent to something like 56,000 words!)
We encourage you to spend some time perusing the great work Molly has done for Camp Gray over the years.
From all of us, Molly, thanks for capturing the essence of Camp Gray. Thanks for telling the story of our mission. Thanks for dreaming big. Thanks for giving us a ticket to return to moments otherwise gone.
Oh, and because I can’t end this blog post too sappily, I’ll conclude with this…
In the fall of 2013, after her first summer at Camp Gray, I asked Molly if she would be interested in writing a blog about her experience as our first-ever full-time photographer/videographer.
To begin her blog, she wrote, and I quote, “I love quotes…”
In closing, I leave you with one more quote, Molly. It’s a quote that you should memorize for your future photo-taking endeavors. It’s a quote from Honest Abe himself:
“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
Good luck in Colorado, Molly! You’re going to be great.
Staff Training 2015
Love Like Paul
The 100th Camp Gray Film
Bless Us for the Journey
Where I Wanna Be