Take a moment and get to know Pei Ketron, CatchLight's Everyday Bay Area program manager. Pei is a photographer, educator, speaker and traveler based in San Francisco. Pei taught special education for a decade in the public school system, and now teaches photography classes privately and through companies such as Creative Live, the Image Flow and the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, in addition to collaborating with a number of other clients. We sat down with Pei to look at a few of her images and reflect on others taken by Everyday Bay Area contributing photographers while we gather our thoughts in anticipation of our first ever #EverydayBayArea event.
CatchLight: What is exciting to you about Everyday Bay Area?
Pei Ketron: It's an opportunity to use photography to build community and to share pieces of this city with people who might not normally be exposed to it. Even in the two short months we've been around, I feel like my own view of the city and the people in it has expanded and I've been given a fresh perspective. This year, especially, when there's been so much focus on the negative, we could all really use some positive and growth-inspiring narratives.
Everyday Bay Area is also exciting to me because it is focused on supporting the growth of not just the official contributors, but also budding local photographers through partnerships with schools and youth photography organizations in the area.
CatchLight: What is your connection to the Bay Area?
Pei: I moved to the Bay Area after I finished graduate school in Boston in 2004 and found it to be the first place that really felt like home. I grew into adulthood here and, through years of ups and downs, have learned to appreciate both the things that come and go, as well as the things that always remain constant.
CatchLight: Where do you see Everyday Bay Area in a few years?
Pei: I would love to see Everyday Bay Area grow into a strong network and community of photographers (past and present) who are still excited to be a part of what we're doing. I see it as being more self-sustaining with many more photographers weighing in on decisions about events, exhibitions, etc. and taking the project to the next level.
CatchLight: How is Everyday Bay Area contributing to The Everyday Projects?
Pei: Everyday Bay Area is partnering with Austin Merrill and Peter DiCampo, the co-founders of Everyday Africa and the Everyday Projects to not only advise us on strategies for launching our feed, but also to guide us through the transition of going from an online community to an offline one.
Having a strong educational component is crucial to the work that we want to do, as well, so we will be looking at the curriculum developed by Everyday Projects as a model for how we move forward in the education world.
CatchLight: You're an Instagram pro. What does community really mean to you?
Pei: Community begins with a common connection and grows from there. To me, a strong community comes together over that common connection, but stays together because everyone has grown to actually be interested and care about one another. It means learning from and supporting one another despite differences and challenges. Lastly, community means amazing new things growing out of the connections that have been made.
CatchLight: Is there anything you'd like to mention to photographers shooting in the Bay Area?
Pei: I really want to encourage photographers in the Bay Area to find inspiration from the images and stories being shared on our feed and to share some of their own using the hashtag #everydaybayarea so we can see what they're creating.