Photographer: Cydney Puro
Contributing Editor: Michael Tweed

(Interview follows photo series)


Summer camp plays a universal role in all the lives it has touched. It is every child’s—and many adults’—biggest fantasy and deepest fear that they might be left alone to do as they wish.

Summer camp remains timeless. Over the years camps—such as Fernwood, an all-girls camp in Poland, Maine—remain largely unchanged from both an architectural and a topographical standpoint.

Fernwood’s beauty lies in its ability to connect different generations as present-day campers relive the very experiences that their parents experienced decades earlier.

A Short Essay about Fernwood by Cydney Puro

The gate swings shut as you follow the long gravel road up to some distorted version of the tiny city on the hill; and that is how camp initiates, comes into fruition.

Camp is the first foreign country you enter. Heavy baggage, uniform laden, may appear like all the rest. In fact it carries magical qualities.  One can choose to stay green and white, or, like a day job, hang it on just to be clothed.

Dirty clothes, sunburns, itchy wool blankets, wet bathing suits, the lodge, marshmallows, mail, the algae at the bottom of the man-made lake; an all-encompassing microcosm built for the purposes of protection from the outside world.

In this summer-born country you travel to learn that it is safe to be you, whomever that might be.

Winter seems a more truthful season, the snow painted like gesso upon an imperfect canvas; the abundance of whiteness takes claim on the land and covers the footsteps of the campers, an undisturbed beauty. Silence waiting to come alive for an influx of late children.

And so the planes, buses, and cars drop off their young travelers at this garden enclave, and another stamp is pressed into a girl’s passport, invisible as thoughts of wintertime, as inconspicuous as a sneeze caused by the summertime sun.