Our first workshop took place in the back of a car. In 2013, our founder Rizzhel Javier, grew tired of the limitations that effected her learning. She wanted to focus on a teaching philosophy was outside-the-box; a method that allowed for her to concentrate on the needs of her students. Without knowing what would become of these workshops, she started to develop events that brought the community together, it felt like home: That year BRIDGE was officially born.
That November she tested her pilot program Traveling Tintypes, a workshop that encourages students to explore the California landscape and learn a photographic process called tintyping. Formally trained in photography, Rizzhel turned to the skills and interests that excited her the most. It felt very natural to share this enthusiasm with others, so she packed her portable darkroom, and head out to explore California with her students by her side.
First stop Anza Borrego. Born-and-raised in San Diego, Rizzhel realized that she knew little about California, so she used this as an opportunity to explore side-by-side with her students. Inspired by her professor, the late Walter Cotten, she thought it was appropriate to start in the desert- a place where many artists go to seek refuge and feel free to be unapologetically themselves.
Like the BRIDGE we know today, it was a very ambitious workshop, but it only took one workshop to make her realized the potential for the project. What she found most impactful was the reaction of her participants and how happy and refreshed they felt after each event.