Born in Worms, Germany, in 1941, Brigitte Camochan (Bri-GEE-tah CAR-neh-ken) survived the war to immigrate to the U.S. at the age of six with her German mother and American stepfather. Living first in Wisconsin, then Texas, and finally, California, she attended San Jose State University, where she earned a B. A. in English, followed by an M.A in education from Stanford University.
In 1990, entering her 50s, she enrolled in evening photography classes at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. “I soon discovered the department was teeming with talented teachers and students.” She also took workshops from numerous well-known photographers, including Steve Kiser, John Sexton, Ruth Bernhard, Morley Baer, William Allard, Ted Orland, David Bayles, Martha Casanave, and Cole Weston. She describes photo history classes at Stanford with Joel Leivick and Jason Francisco as “pivotal,” and goes on to emphasize, “It’s important to know the past and let it inspire the future — I don’t believe creativity comes out of a vacuum.”