A life of creativity and exploration had its roots in a writing class at Grand Valley.
Photographer and Grand Valley alumnus Ben Moon ’97 has traveled the world clinging to some of the most iconic and recognizable mountains and rock formations, or surfing along the coastline of the world’s most beautiful locales, or scrambling across trails on his mountain bike.
You may not know his name, but chances are if you’ve flipped through a Patagonia, Prana or Timberland catalog or thumbed through a copy of National Geographic, GQ or Outside, you’ve seen Moon’s images. His short films created by his own production company, Moonhouse, on adventure and outdoor sports have appeared at film festivals around the country. His most recent gig took him to Iceland where he spent frigid days capturing snowboarders slaloming down glaciers and gazing at the aurora borealis on crystal clear nights.
His list of famous friends extends to authors, athletes, musicians and other outdoor enthusiasts and photographers. But, it’s a red box tucked away in the workshop on his Oregon home’s first floor that contains some of his most treasured memories.
“This box has survived many storage units and basements,” Moon said.
The box is overflowing with items — gear, medals, a photo album filled with press clippings — from his years on the Grand Valley rowing team in the mid-1990s. Moon places the box on his dining room table and begins to recollect over this formative period in his life. His 6-year-old dog, Nori, lies at his feet, never far away from him.
There’s the faded blue baseball cap with “GVSU Rowing” embroidered across the front two panels. The bill is torn. The sweatband is filthy, a ring of salt encrusted into it, all those hours of sweat and hard work poured into training. Moon pulls out the team’s windbreaker, silkscreened with “Grand Valley Rowing” on the left chest panel and “GV Crew” on the back.