Much like being photographed, Pei Ketron gives you a different side of her depending on the angle! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be one of the original Influencers in the very beginning of Instagram? Pei Ketron provides a unique perspective having joined the digital world in the early days of social media. She’s a dedicated and gifted photographer who has learned to channel her creative talents into stunning iPhone photography that rivals the top of the line DSLR. I met up with Pei in San Francisco not long ago. A newlywed, about to set out on a travel adventure for her honeymoon, she loved the inspiration for Bridging the Gap, particularly wishing to develop personal bonds in a virtual world. I’m delighted to introduce you to my second partner in the campaign, the lovely Pei Ketron.
Pei and I sat down in a cozy coffee shop in her neighborhood in The Sunset. Friendly and unassuming, Pei was clearly raised with good old-fashioned values. As one of the originals on Instagram, Pei’s experience in this day of the Algorithm is that much more valuable. The world of social media has changed dramatically since Pei uploaded her first post on the Instagram App. Back in the day, her account caught fire quickly as Instagram recommended Pei as a “Suggested User.” Her following increased quickly where she is approaching the 1 million mark. She’s as down to earth as they come and Pei shared with me the inspirational story behind the woman.
Pei is very open and vulnerable. Personally, she has found herself “sucked into” a vortex of social media that tends to take over her days. She can find it hard to find balance as she struggles to spend time with her husband while managing her time in the virtual world. She’s a busy entrepreneur, hosting her own photography classes for all ages, sharing her gifts with youth as well as those who are more mature and not as advanced in the digital world. She loves being able to experience both perspectives and my sense is, Pei would love things to slow down a bit and be able to enjoy the present moment and time with her husband. Like so many, she sees the world going faster and faster, much driven by our staying connected online, and I sense it’s a treadmill she would love a break from.
What’s it like to have your family’s roots in the Far East yet be raised on a Native American Reservation in the States? Well, if you’re Pei, you take that experience and alchemize it for good. You stay true to your roots while being mindful of the vast differences amongst us. With a soft spot for those who live with disabilities, she went on to earn her Masters in Special Education and loves working with people with special needs.
Pei opened up about her concerns on social media and shared why she was personally drawn into the campaign. Taking things offline and focusing on the personal relationship is very organic to her. Her heart is one of connection and Bridging the Gap appealed to her authentic desire to get to know other generations on a deeper level. In her photography classes, she encounters students in the older demographics who are completely unfamiliar with digital media. She loves seeing their fresh perspective on life as well as helping them to utilize photography and social media as a means of sharing their passion with others.
A conversation with Pei feels much like bonding with an old soul. She’s refreshingly candid and unedited in this perfectly edited world we live in today. She lives to hear others’ life experiences and wisdom as it helps to expand her mindset and worldview. She opened up about her unusual background which clearly has had a major impact on the direction of her life and the giant heart she has on the inside. She’s warm, friendly and with a beautiful energy and natural sense of compassion for all. She is an artist at heart, and was influenced at an early age to revel in that as both her mother and father were artists.
Pei sees herself as more of an “X-cennial.” This is a generation that’s slightly ahead of the Millennials. It’s an interesting generation that didn’t get introduced to technology and the digital world until much later. Pei didn’t grow up with a cell phone or computer and purchased her first iPhone after grad school. It gives her a unique perspective from the typical Millennial who doesn’t remember a world that isn’t mostly virtual. She has immense compassion as she’s seen both positive and negative changes with so much focus on technology and the impact it has had on creating more authentic connections in the real world. She talked openly about the dark side of social media and the current fascination with manipulating Algorithms. As many of the students she teaches are in the older demographic, they can be quite puzzled by the term “Algorithm.” Pei gets to the point by sharing it’s “Something that works against you.” Back in the Instagram heyday, Pei’s following grew naturally and organically. Now, she finds it a struggle as most of her followers never actually see her beautiful images. I sense she would love to turn back time and return to a world that isn’t manipulated by others. She’s an authentic woman and desires to live in an organic world. We had a lot in common when it came to our viewpoints on social media with an authentic desire, to be honest and organic rather than learning how to manipulate the system.
She shared her perspective on the more mature photographers who tend to get set in their ways. There is a traditional road to success which can be difficult to open up to different perspectives. She teaches iPhone classes to various age groups and sees a wide variety of perspectives. She loves her transition from the DSLR to iPhone photography and she is honest about letting go of capturing and editing that perfect image. It’s easier to travel around with an iPhone and there are brilliant apps and ways to enhance the photographs that rival the top of the line cameras.
Pei’s father was a huge influence on her while growing up. She didn’t realize the natural innate creative abilities she had until much later. She was exposed to her Father’s love of beautiful composition which has clearly had a major impact on the images she captures. Pei’s skill with any camera is truly amazing. We are hoping to plan a humanitarian adventure together to photograph gorillas in their natural habitat! Pei is warm and engaging, making the time pass quickly as you’re mesmerized by her inner beauty and kind heart.
Pei was honored to be chosen for the iPhone 6 Campaign. She’s been represented by a top agent since her early days on Instagram. Asked to submit her best photos to Apple for the campaign audition, Pei quickly rounded up her favorites and was honored to be selected to be part of this incredible campaign. Her photo was shown on billboards around the world! She openly talks about how her life philosophy began on the reservation. Born in Taiwan, she moved to the States when she was 10 months old. Her family moved to the reservation before she was 4 and most of her conscious memories of her childhood begin on the reservation. In her own words, “I knew I was different.” She grew up immersed in multicultural diversity which had a major influence on the direction of her life’s path.
An articulation master, she describes the various perspectives on racial differences which she learned from her childhood. Raised with a Chinese mother and a caucasian step father, the cultural differences began at home. Moving to the Native American reservation only expanded both her heart and her mindset to embrace our differences in every aspect. She reflects on the fact that most people didn’t have the opportunity that she had and they will develop perceptions that aren’t necessarily a true reflection of reality. It’s clear she cares deeply about the many vast relationships in her life which is a beautiful melting pot. These experiences have shaped who Pei has become, as she is a rare being in today’s crazy selfie obsessed social media world.
She shies away from self-promotion, yet she’s firmly dedicated to her craft and always looking for ways to expand her creative talents. More importantly, she has a gift for teaching others and loves sharing her skills and helping multiple generations get in touch with their creative juices. Pei is one of the most inspiring and beautiful souls I’ve met through my journey of creating personal connections in this virtual world we live in today. She’s one to follow as you’ll be deeply inspired by the vast beauty and creativity in the images she captures. Thank you, Pei, for helping us to build a bridge and garner a new friendship!