CatchLight Local’s pilot program aims to fortify creative community engagement practices and produce nuanced visual stories to better equip communities and policymakers to understand problems and pursue viable solutions to the economic crisis facing the region.
One-third of residents in the Bay Area — nearly 2 million people — struggle to make ends meet. According to a study conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area by the Brookings Institution, families on the high end of the income spectrum earn 11 times more than families on the low end — making it the third most unequal region in the U.S.
CatchLight Local is an initiative established in partnership with The GroundTruth Project and made possible by the support from The Kresge Foundation, The Neda Nobari Foundation, and the LSP Family Foundation.
“While we were able to award three fellowships for our pilot program, it was evident from the application process that there is a critical need for more visual storytelling at the local level and an abundance of visual storytellers doing incredible community-based work," says CatchLight CEO Elodie Maillet Storm. “We want to make sure to highlight this work.”
Read on to meet the 2019 CatchLight Local finalists — eight photographers working to address important local issues through nuanced visual storytelling and learn more about their proposed projects.
Meet David Rodriguez Munoz:
David is a Central Coast based freelance photographer from Salinas, California. It is his intention to reveal the human condition by using a moment of light to freeze a moment of emotion. David seeks conditions of pathos, beauty, wonder, joy, stress, struggle, or despair in which to seek the "decisive moment" of recognition of his subject, as well as to capture that image.
Meet Adrian Burell
Adrian is an avid storyteller from Oakland, California. He is a filmmaker and producer with a BFA in Film from the San Francisco Art Institute, currently perusing an MFA at Stanford University. Adrian was the producer and casting director on the dramatic feature Licks (2013) that premiered at SXSW and was distributed internationally by Blue Sky Media. Adrian is the director of a documentary photo and video project titled Picture A Change, documenting people and communities around the world fighting for change. Adrian loves to tell stories through his passion for photography and filmmaking, and is always looking for the next story to tell.
Meet Salgu Wissmath
Salgu is a nonbinary photographer based in Sacramento, CA. They are available for freelance work in Northern California and can travel for assignments. Previously, Salgu spent several years teaching elementary school in Mississippi, California, and South Korea before entering grad school at Ohio University, where they recently completed a Master of Arts in Photography. Their current work explores the intersections of mental health, queer identity, and faith from a conceptional documentary approach.They are dedicated to decolonizing the field of photography through their personal work, which focuses on stories by and for people of color and the queer community.
Meet Matthew O'Brien
Matthew is a photographer, filmmaker, and author of No Dar Papaya: Photographs of Colombia 2003-2013. Through combinations of imagery, text, and sound, he focuses on telling compelling stories that move people and have the potential to improve conditions for people and the planet. A common thread in all of his work, whether exploring ranching and public education in his native California, displacement and migration in Myanmar, or indigenous communities in Colombia, is beauty and affirmation. Based in the Bay Area, Matthew studied zoology at U.C. Berkeley and was a Fulbright scholar in Colombia. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, Vice, Mother Jones, and The Guardian, and is in public collections including The Library of Congress.
Meet Nathan Weyland
Nathan is a 15-year resident of the Bay Area with a bachelor's degree in Photojournalism from San Francisco State University. His work on personal projects is centered around environment, health, infrastructure, agriculture, adventure, and fill assignments.
Meet Manny Crisostomo
Multimedia photojournalist Manny Crisostomo is a native of Guam and is perhaps best known on the island for his stunning photographs documenting the lives and culture of the Chamorro people. His keen eye and extensive photography work for almost 30 years have won him numerous awards and accolades, including the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography, which he was awarded in 1989.
Meet Deanne Fitzmaurice
As a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial and commercial photographer and filmmaker, San Francisco-based Deanne Fitzmaurice is most known for her unique ability to establish trust and to discover and convey personal, intimate and emotional stories through images. Fitzmaurice, a Nikon Ambassador, is an assignment photographer with publications including National Geographic, ESPN, and many other respected outlets. Deanne also works with foundations and non-profits including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lucile Packard Foundation to tell their stories. She is a photography instructor at Stanford University Continuing Studies and is a co-founder of Think Tank Photo. Deanne is represented by National Geographic Image Collection.
Meet Lacy Atkins:
Lacy Atkins is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a two time finalist with over 30 years of experience as a visual storyteller. She now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and contracts with non-profits such as the Innocence Project and Teach For America. She has been on staff at the San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and part of the USA TODAY Network, the Tennessean. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated as well as on display at the Newseum in Washington D.C. and exhibited at the Visa pour L'Image in Perpignan, France.