The first time David Mayes picked up a camera things clicked -- literally.
It was his last year of high school and Mayes was monkeying around with a camera at school. Turned out, he was pretty good at taking pictures.
"There was no grand plan, really. I just enjoyed taking pictures," Mayes said.
Now 20 years later, his chance encounter with a camera has turned into an award-winning career in photojournalism. From capturing everyday life on the streets of Manhattan, to shooting environmental portraits or action shots from the football field, Mayes has done it all. And he'll now bring his eye and talents to bear on the K-State campus as university photographer.
"His photographs are not only creative, but technically excellent," said Cheryl May, assistant vice president for university relations. "K-State is fortunate to have Dave as the university photographer." Mayes is a 1996 K-State history graduate who was chosen from a national pool of applicants.
Prior to joining K-State, Mayes spent 13 years at The Manhattan Mercury as a staff photographer. In addition to providing high quality news, sports and feature photos for the newspaper, he also designed pages and graphics, and occasionally wrote a column or story. His professional experience also includes serving as a staff photographer for the Hutchinson News from October 1994 to July 1995, and as photo editor of the Tahoe World in May-September 1994.
Mayes' work for the Mercury received numerous honors, including third place from the National Newspaper Association in 2008 for photo essay and third place in 2007 for breaking news photo. Mayes also has been consistently recognized by the Kansas Press Association, netting first, second and third place awards for his photography since 2003. He also took the 1993 Associated Collegiate Press Picture of the Year award while a photographer at K-State's Collegian.
Of all those years capturing the world around him, he says his most memorable photo was one he shot last year during a state championship football game involving a legendary high school team from Smith Center.
"There are two players celebrating in the end zone with the ref signaling the touchdown in the background and the rest of the team running down the field toward them," he said. "I was trying to capture the team's passion. There was such excitement in the air."
And it's the passion and excitement on campus that he'll now cast his eye upon.
"It's a challenge to look at the world around you and see it in a different way," he said. "A lot of my images are just found. I like to take an everyday scene and present it in a way a person wouldn't normally look at it."
As university photographer, Mayes is responsible for providing professional photography for a variety of university needs and clients. He also will maintain the university's photo archive and assist with K-State video projects for podcasts and placement on Web sites such as YouTube.
Over the next few months, K-State's photographic services will be introducing a number of innovations to enable all K-State units access to great photos at affordable prices.
To set up an appointment or find out more call 785-532-6304 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: (Top) Mayes shoots assistant professor of cultural anthropology Michael Wesch in the classroom. (Middle) A geometric look at one of Hale Library's stairwells. (Bottom) Mayes captures a runner 'doing stairs' at K-State's Memorial Stadium.