Katera Brown’s love of photography was born when they strolled on foot around Omaha, phone in hand, practicing photography through the lens of their old Motorola. They quickly became immersed in capturing life around them and turned photography into a full-fledged obsession.
After mastering the way of the Android photographer, Katera was driven to bring their photography to a new level. After they graduated high school, Katera took a leap and purchased their first, shiny Nikon camera with the money they had been saving up since Freshman year. It was a love affair from then on out.
Excited to up their photography skills, Katera decided to join BFF in 2019 as a photography intern under the mentorship of Sarah Hill. It was here that they were able to have the opportunity to practice shooting a wide array of events. Katera was most excited to practice their low light shooting skills during BFF’s night events. One of their favorite recurring assignments is photographing their favorite part of BFF: the artist markets at First Fridays.
Now acting as the Lead Photographer at BFF, Katera uses their trained eye to capture the unique moments of what keeps BFF “good weird.” And there’s a lot of them.
Katera encapsulates the spirit of BFF during a gauntlet of First Friday events; The burlesque and drag performers dancing around The Sydney for Friend of BFF happy hours, the Bensonites cruising through BFF’s art walk, the electricity of the artist markets, the buzz of a mingling crowd at Petshop Art Gallery — and plenty other cherished occasions that would require a novel.
“I think BFF has gotten me out there,” Katera said, referring to having a larger photography presence in the community. “I got to make a lot of progress in my work through BFF.”
Katera’s growth over the last few years is impressive; Not only are they now the commanding photographer at BFF, but their talent and hard work has led them to opportunities in the larger Omaha community. They are most prideful of their photography in exhibits at The Union for Contemporary Art and Kaneko. And, most recently, they got the chance to check an item off of their bucket list: photographing Omaha Fashion Week. To put the cherry on top, Katera has now come full circle, acting as a teacher to new BFF photography interns.
Check out Katera’s work on Instagram @katera_eatsart and catch them snapping photos at upcoming First Fridays.
When Delaney Nordbrock joined BFF Omaha as an intern in 2019, she couldn’t have predicted that the following year she would be leading the charge to ‘go green’ in Benson. She first started volunteering at BFF as a videography intern, but her fiery passion for sustainability naturally transformed her role into something new; A role specifically geared toward keeping Benson healthy, sustainable and vibrant.
One thing you must know about Delaney is that she is an avid lover of all things related to nature. In fact, she’s a self-proclaimed “professional tree hugger” and is determined to work with plants for the rest of her life. She’s passionate about sustainability, the environment and herbal healing. And Benson. She loves Benson.
Benson is a place where thousands of people come to eat, shop, drink and gather. Because there are so many people walking the streets of Benson on any given day, it can mean a hefty amount of trash is discarded onto the ground.
As the trash cans overflowed and the litter piled up, Delaney recognized that environmentally-friendly practices were missing in Benson. She wanted to take care of the neighborhood and see it flourish so that the community could enjoy it. Partnering with her sister McKenna Nordbrock, Delaney pitched the idea of bi-weekly Benson clean ups with the BFF crew. And thus, the BFF Green Team was born!
“This is our home,” said Delaney. “I don’t live [in Benson], but it feels like a home to me. So, I want to take care of it the way I know how, which is through the environment.”
Every other Sunday, BFF volunteers began to meet at Petshop in Benson, BFF’s headquarters, to roam nearby streets and collect litter. The Green Team collects several trash bags full of litter each clean up, mainly consisting of aluminum cans, cigarettes, liquor bottles and straw wrappers.
Those who frequent Benson are taking notice of the cleanups, according to Delaney. When she launched the community cleanups in January 2020, it would take the Green Team hours to pick up litter in Benson. Now, since Benson residents have started to recognize the cleanup crew, Delaney notices less litter on the streets. She believes that since Benson regulars know the Green Team will be cleaning up trash on Sundays, they think twice before discarding trash onto the ground.
“In the grand scheme of things, picking up a couple of cigarette butts is not going to end climate change, but I think it at least sparks an idea,” Delaney said. “I love it when people stop us and say ‘you’re doing a great job.’ They get so excited about it.”
The BFF Green Team’s footprint isn’t limited to community clean ups; they regularly provide education about sustainability and the environment, create public art projects that add beauty to Benson, landscape and host community events.
As for the future, Delaney hopes to see the Green Team expand its footprint in Benson, to positively influence the neighborhood for years to come, and to continue to provide a way for people to connect and build community.
Delaney says that her experience with the Green Team has helped her grow as a person, pushed her out of her comfort zone, exposed her to a diverse group of genuine people and allowed her to meet some of her closest friends.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the BFF Green Team, we are always looking for new friends. No environmental background needed – everyone is welcome! Reach out to Alex Jochim for volunteer opportunities and follow the BFF Green Team on Instagram to stay privy of upcoming community clean ups.