Filling the Access Gap with ASMP’s Photography Mentorship Program, The Bridge


Creating and sustaining a successful photo career is no easy feat. To help aspiring young imagemakers acquire the needed creative concepts and business skills, two New York-based organizations—ASMP NY and BKC—have teamed up to create the innovative mentorship, education, and industry immersion program The Bridge. Open to individuals from 18 to 26 years old, The Bridge embraces diversity and provides opportunities to underserved communities, regardless of formal photography experience. Best of all, this four-month, real-world program is free to accepted students.

We first learned about The Bridge during a chat with program co-founder Liam Alexander for the show ASMP-NY and the Future of Photo Trade Organizations in February 2022. Since the program’s second year recently wrapped with a gallery exhibition in Brooklyn and plans are in the works to expand The Bridge to other ASMP chapters in 2023, we wanted to learn more about this valuable initiative in advance of the next application window this spring.

For this week’s podcast, we’re joined by Alexander, who sheds light on The Bridge program’s inner workings and educational goals during the first half of the show. After a break, we speak with 2022 Bridge graduate Eli Edwards, who describes what he learned through the program, and the resulting shift in the pictures he makes, as well as in his creative point of view. To discover how to futureproof your career and learn how to apply for this free program, make sure to listen in!

Guests: Liam Alexander and Eli Edwards

ASMP Bridge Program photos © Saad El Amin, Images from Community of Hoops © Eli Edwards

Sponsored by

Video training during the ASMP Bridge Mentorship program
Eli Edwards & Nafisah Crumity, Bridge students shooting during class 2
Eli Edwards & Nafisah Crumity, Bridge students shooting during class 2
Cesar Cordone & Ruhamaiah (Mya) Bradley, Bridge students shooting…
Photographer and ASMP NY Board Member Erica Price as guest speaker…
The Bridge Class 6—The Power of Storytelling, Students; (L to R)…
Justin Lin teaching during class seven, Evolving Creative Practices
ASMP National Board Member Thomas Donley and photographer/2022 mentor,…
Class 7—Evolving Creative Practices, Students (L to R) Noelle…
Class 7—Evolving Creative Practices, Justin Lin, Program Director and…
Class 13—Mentorship preparation, students interview with their…
Class 13—Mentorship preparation, Duane Lyken, photographer/2022 mentor
Eli Edwards (student), Liam Alexander (program Leader), Justin Lin …
ASMP Bridge Program photos Saad El Amin

West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: Basketball & Business, a…
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: Player Proud of His Basketball…
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: Check the Ball Up
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: Unblinking in the Face of…
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: High-Fives All Around
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: Basketball is a Universal Game
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: Player in Defeat
West 4th Street Basketball Court, 2022: The Joy of the Game
Images from Community of Hoops Eli Edwards

Episode Timeline

  • 3:50: Application and selection process for The Bridge Mentorship, a program designed to fill the gap in existing educational models.
  • 9:27: Introduction to The Bridge program partner BKC, and program co-founder Justin Lin.
  • 17:13: The Bridge Program coursework: Developing Your Creative Point of View.
  • 20:52: Bridge Mentorship Program Core Supporters: The ASMP Foundation, Sony, and Freelancers Union, as well as a widening network of additional supporters.
  • 25:17: A five-year vision for the program: Producing the future of the photo industry every summer.
  • 26:50: Episode break
  • 27:24: 2022 Bridge Program participant Eli Edwards and his easy application through Instagram.
  • 32:42: Effects of the program on Edwards’ pictures and his new confidence in making project-based work.
  • 36:40: Is YouTube University an effective tool for learning the ropes of photography?
  • 40:56: How Edwards’ shift from social media to photography changed his creative point of view, and some social media tips.
  • 46:38: Ways to support The Bridge program and application window for the 2023 Bridge program mentorship.

Guest Bios:

Liam Alexander, is a fine artist and creative director who seeks to catalyze social change through artistic expression. As the current president of ASMP New York, he co-founded the ASMP NY Bridge program in 2020 with Justin Lin of BKC. He has also been instrumental in building other community-focused creative projects designed to educate and inspire, such as IThou at NYU’s Kimmel Galleries, The Exchange at Rush Arts, and #StrokeofGenius. Alexander’s own work has been featured in gallery exhibitions and art fairs throughout the US, and at the second annual Toolkit Festival, in Venice, Italy. His work has been published in magazines including Nylon and Rolling Stone, and he creates projects with major brands like, Samsung, SAP, Renaissance Hotels, and the city of New York.

Eli Edwards, is a photographer, videographer, writer, producer, and director. Born in Los Angeles, Edwards currently resides in New York City, where he works as a freelance videographer and photographer for brands, events, and musical artists. He was a 2022 participant in the ASMP Bridge program, where he produced the photo series “A Community of Hoops,” which is about the dedicated group that frequents New York’s iconic West 4th Street basketball court. Edwards is a 2019 graduate of NYU’s Steinhart School, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media, Culture, and Communication. After college, he worked as a social media editor for Turner Sports in Atlanta as part of the Emmy-Award winning NBA on TNT team, creating content for the NBA.

Stay Connected:

The Bridge Program:
Donate to the Bridge:
ASMP National website:
ASMP New York website:
ASMP New York Facebook:
ASMP New York Instagram:
ASMP New York Twitter:

Bridge Program partner BKC website:
BKC Instagram:
BKC Twitter:

Eli Edwards Website:
Eli Edwards Instagram:
Eli Edwards Twitter:
Eli Edwards TikTok:

Liam Alexander Website:
Liam Alexander Facebook:
Liam Alexander Instagram:
Liam Alexander Twitter:

Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: Jill Waterman
Senior Producer: Mike Weinstein
Executive Producer: Yermy Weiss
Editorial Director: Shawn C Steiner