Mountain Hardwear, a leader in performance equipment and apparel for climbers, alpinists and athletes, is now accepting applications for its 2023 Open Aperture photo clinic. This year’s Open Aperture will sponsor six participants to sharpen their outdoor photography skills with the mission to better equip marginalized communities to tell their own stories and combat underrepresentation in the outdoors.
“We want to help create more diverse representation in the mountains,” said Matt Burbach, Director of Marketing at Mountain Hardwear. “Open Aperture allows us to authentically expand the network and community of outdoor enthusiasts from both sides of the lens – as participants and storytellers.”
Expanding upon the success of the first three climbing-focused editions of Open Aperture, the July 21-25, 2023 workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah will center around trail and camp photography.
Led by program director and Mountain Hardwear athlete Nikki Smith, Open Aperture has blossomed since its inception in 2019 to include photography, videography, editing and more. Smith is a National Geographic Adventure contributing photographer who has over 20 years of professional photography experience in climbing and the outdoors.
“Storytelling can be a powerful tool for connection and understanding,” said Smith. “We created Open Aperture to address the need for many in historically marginalized communities to be able to tell their own stories rather than have others outside their community tell them for them.”
The program is hosted entirely by Mountain Hardwear, including all-expenses covering transportation, accommodations, plus outdoor and photography gear needed for the clinic in order to ensure all barriers of participation are removed for all participants. Programming includes classroom and in-the-field workshops, one-on-one mentorship with industry professionals, and more.
In total, nearly 20 content creators have participated in the workshops over the past three years. Past graduates have used their skills and experience in the program to shoot photography for outdoor brands and organizations. Participants from the previous Open Aperture workshops will drive the selection of this year’s applicants as well as return in a mentorship capacity to this year’s participants.
Open Aperture applications are open to legal U.S. residents 18 years and older. Applications will be accepted until May 28, 2023 and can be found here.