Mystery Photo Solved: Behind the Lens, 1973

The man behind the camera in our Mystery Photo in the Summer 2016 issue (Pages 66-67) is Matt Byrne ’72. Fellow graduates from the 1970s identified Byrne within days of the magazine hitting mailboxes, so we reached out to him to find out what was on the other side of his camera lens.

It turns out that Byrne was working on a promotional video for the then-Office of Public Affairs, as part of his graduate work in film at Boston University in 1973.

“Yes, that is me in the picture,” Byrne says. “The photograph was taken by Robert C. McGrath ’72, who helped me throughout the production.”

The admissions office used the film, showing it to prospective students and parents on campus visits.

Byrne’s skill behind the camera was well-known among his schoolmates while he was on The Hill, and in the years beyond. Edward McGann ’75 was a photographer for the Purple Patcher when Byrne was the photo editor. McGann wrote to HCM, saying “He was a great guy and mentor.” Michael Dugan ’71 remembers that he and his classmates were eager participants in Byrne’s films. “Those of us lucky enough to be subjects or characters in his films (Matt had more hams lined up than a New York deli) have fond memories of his work.”

Byrne’s longtime friend, former roommate and classmate, Kevin S. Quinn ’72, wrote to HCM about Byrne’s years after the photo was taken: “Matt later studied at the University of Southern California’s prestigious film school and worked in television film production in the Los Angeles area, before eventually turning to the law. Today, he is a highly respected health care lawyer and member of the Syracuse, New York, firm of Byrne, Costello & Pickard PC,” Quinn writes. “My friend since our high school days at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, Matt was my Mulledy Hall roommate our junior year at HC. He is an accomplished photographer whose lifelong hobby still brings him pleasure, as it does to those of us—me included—fortunate to be the recipients of his photo-laden Christmas cards.”  ■

—Maura Sullivan Hill