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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

This is not my camera

Enjoying the failures in a performance-based medium
Peyton McKenzie

The buzzer sounds as the 2023 NCAA men’s hockey championship heads to overtime tied at 2-2. A shaking 19-year-old sits in silence on the concourse of a sold-out Amalie Arena, a camera in each hand, mesmerized at the photos he just captured. Suddenly, the buzzer marks the end of intermission. He gets up and sprints through the fans, tears running down his face, his media pass swaying side-to-side with his cameras heavy against his chest. There’s just one thing — those aren’t his cameras.

Over the last three years at Quinnipiac, I have taken hundreds of thousands of photos. Between the iconic Tampa Bay championship, the beautiful Guatemalan forests, a blizzard at Fenway Park and even an abandoned New York hotel, the camera and I created images I will cherish forever. 

I began taking photos in high school after we returned to in-person classes my senior year in 2021. I was second-in-command for the school newspaper and we were short on photographers so I asked my dad, a high school photography teacher, if I could just borrow a camera. Two months later, I was walking through the halls with a camera bag at all times, much like many see me on campus today, with that same camera beside me.

Since I was about 8 years old, I hyper-focused on my favorite sport — baseball — a game that me how to fail. In baseball, you can fail 70% of the time at the plate and still be considered an elite player. Luckily, my dad became my coach after he just took his school district’s baseball team to a state championship. Through all of the failure that comes with the sport, I just wanted to keep trying again and again. 

Because these things are about having fun, right?

I found that my camera replaced my mitt and I could use the same lessons I learned on the field for a new kind of field. Failure never meant to try something new or get better equipment. I never bought a new lens or the latest Canon gear worth five times my income. I simply adapted and tried to just get better using the functioning tools I already had. I remained resourceful, improving on the aspects only I can control. So for three years, I’ve always used the “loaned” camera from my dad and the student media cameras.

With the portfolio that I’ve built, it’s always fun to tell people that I don’t actually “own” a camera. I’ll get professionals to react like I’m a doctor who told them the worst possible diagnosis. But other times, I’ll say it was my father’s, and they tend to enjoy that answer a lot more.

To be great in anything, I think you need to be taught how to fail healthily. Without the help of one man, who became a teacher, coach and father for me all at once, I don’t think I would have the artistic abilities I carry with me today. I will always remember every failure and how awful it felt, but I’ll also remember how he taught me how to carry myself afterward and learn from it. 

You can’t change the images of the past, but you can always adapt for future moments so you know you’ll be ready to capture it. Thank you all for allowing me to fail in the past and thank you dad and Quinnipiac for making me successful for the future.

*shutter click* – This one’s a keeper.

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About the Contributors
Aidan Sheedy
Aidan Sheedy, Photography Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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