Senior Ben Maiava can almost always be found in the gym.
The international studies major works as one of two student managers for the men’s basketball team. But recently, Maiava has been taking time to work on another of his passions: photography. He is set to create a senior project show in conjunction with PLNU’s new Love Art Gallery that will go on display near the end of February.
Ever since his first camera purchase freshman year, Maiava developed a passion for photos that tell a story. He first decided to merge his two loves, basketball and photography, when he saw that students treated student-athletes differently.
“I just noticed that students seemed intimidated by a lot of sports teams on campus, especially with the basketball team,” said Maiava. “Basically I wanted to find a way to give the basketball team a more approachable atmosphere.”
Maiava turned to photography. He went on to take unique photographs of the men’s team in their new gold uniforms using highly contrasted lighting and a black background to add drama. He then posted them on the @plnubasketball Instagram account as positive marketing.
“I wanted to do a lot of different social media stuff,” said Maiava. “I wanted to fill in the gaps so students could kind of see what goes on with the basketball team [so] I created the PLNU [Basketball] Instagram.”
Maiava recently accepted a project in conjunction with the new Love Art Gallery on campus. He coordinated with junior Ryan Shoemaker to come up with the exact criteria of the display, which will include photos of seniors and a small write up on their stories as individuals.
“I work in really close conjunction with the art department in curating shows and giving people opportunities to display their art,” said Shoemaker. “It’s my job to line up shows for the semester and I had talked to [Ben] before about showing some of his photography and maybe doing something that incorporated senior stories.”
Shoemaker took notice of Maiava’s work after Maiava had completed the series of photos with the men’s team in their gold uniforms.
Maiava was more than willing to participate and has been working on putting together the show for about a week now. Maiava said he knows what he likes when he sees it.
“I am so picky, [even though] I don’t have a specific style,” said Maiava. “But my eye is very attracted to certain things. And it’s funny now because Spencer and some of the guys I live with, they’ll look at a picture and say this is something Ben would like or this is something Ben wouldn’t like.”
Roommate and fellow student manager Spencer Schulze has lived and worked with Maiava for the past four years. When the two became roommates, Schulze observed Maiava’s passion for photography.
“I have really learned a lot from him in terms of photography, because he is so passionate about it,” said Schulze. “I have often been the subject of many of his photos or helped him get to specific shots. Just being around his photo shoots for four years, I have learned a lot about the types of shots Ben likes to get and how to get them.”
Schulze looks forward to seeing his work on display.
“He really has an eye for pictures that is a true talent,” said Schulze. “I can’t wait to see his photos in the Love Art Gallery because I have seen his work grow over the past four years to what it has become today.”