March 21, 2023

With California Baptist University’s Photography program continuously expanding and with the purpose of efficiency, community building and outward focus, the program has officially moved to the business park of 2900 Adams Street ABPK #B25 and #B26.

CBU’s Photography program has grown in the past few years. It started with just the classroom James 430, then expanding into one unit of warehouse space at Adams #A19, and now using two units right next to each other, #B25 and #B26.

There are several benefits to this transition for the photography program. Not only does this provide needed space for the program, but this situation also fits the photography industry standard.

Christopher Kern, assistant professor of photography and program lead, said this was the best fit for the program.

“This is exactly what we use in the industry.” Kern said. “Anywhere in the United States or the world, they are looking for spaces that are just like these warehouse complexes. The high ceilings are ideal, the square footage, the open space, it’s all relevant, especially for the photo studio side of things.”

The Photography program has been deeply connected to the Graphic Design program at CBU. Yet, it has been expanding rapidly and the community was growing enough that the Photography program needed its own destination.

Kern explained how this transition is also meant to help the culture and community of the program grow and be more accessible.

“It has been a few year transition to not break away from the Graphic Design program but to create our own community and culture that’s relevant to the industry,” Kern said. “But more so, it is to create a destination for our photo community, but also to service our university eternally and to have a presence outside of CBU. It is much more accessible for people in the community and the industry to come visit us here than it is on main campus.”

Raymond Alva, junior photography major, said he was excited for this transition as well.

“Finally having our own space is such a big step for our program,” Alva said. “When I came to CBU, we were still transitioning away from being a part of the design program. Now we’re fully on our own and it’s so sick to see. We now have the space to shoot, print, critique and develop our own film, most of which we weren’t able to do at the same time in our space in James 430.”

Ruth Alraei, senior photography major, said she appreciates all the hard work that has been put into this change.

“Now being able to hang up photographer’s work on the walls and have a small place for our major help give value to our degree,” Alraei said. “Kern has worked so hard on everything and we appreciate it all so much.”

Before this change in locations, half of the photography classes were held in James 430, and half were held in Adams #A19. The equipment and resources were split between the two locations and it was expensive to service.

“Really, the opportunity to have two spaces next door to each other—it looks like we expanded our square footage, but we are really being more efficient with our overhead,” Kern said. “So not only is this transition creating a destination for the Photography program and encouraging the building of community and culture, it is also being more cost-efficient and resourceful.”

Kern also explained how this transition relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has made it possible to have necessary in-person classes this semester.

“Even before the pandemic, this was all in the plans for the last few years,” Kern said. “But now trying to practice social distancing and setting up the spaces to be compliant with the CDC, the square footage and opportunity to space each other out has been part of our rationale to be able to get our face-to-face classes this semester. If we were still in James we couldn’t do it.”

Luc Stringer | CBU Banner Courtesy of Raymond Alva | Photography students can now use a full-functional dark room to develop photos shot on film.

Some photography courses can be difficult to teach remotely. Classes such as digital printing, which requires facilities and equipment, have had to be pushed to this spring because the program did not have space to hold the course in person safely. Now, with this transition, the program is able to hold classes with proper social distancing and safety guidelines.

This transition is a long-term solution for the Photography program. However, ideally, they need more space because they are still missing a presentation space. This space used to be the gallery downtown Riverside, but that space has not been accessible due to COVID-19. Kern said he has his eye on the unit next door. Kern said they can make this new space work for presenting and shows, but to be relevant to other photography or art programs, the program would still need a finished gallery space eventually.

Essentially, this transition is a push for CAVAD students and the program to be more accessible for connections, open events and to be outward-facing, not just for the CBU community but for the community as a whole.

The new space at Adams Business Park is still considered part of CBU’s expanding campus. This means that they have 24 hour security, are a part of the CBU WiFi network and Lancer Express transport is provided to get students there and back to the main campus.

The Photography program finally has a place of its own for the community and culture to grow and thrive. It will be interesting to see how this transition affects the rapid growth of the photo program and community. Check out information, photos, hours, services, safety guidelines and precautions for the new photo studio at 2900 Adams Street #B25 and #B26 on their website

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