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Apply to the Amazing Open Aperture Photo Clinic with Nikki Smith

The clinic has helped several photographers learn the trade under the guidance of award-winning photographer and LGBTQIA+ advocate Nikki Smith

Mountain Hardwear is now accepting applications for its 2022 Open Aperture photo clinic. From Nov. 4 to 7, 2022, Open Aperture will take place around Las Vegas, Nevada, where participants will sharpen their outdoor photography skills with the mission of better equipping historically marginalized communities to tell their own stories.

This year, the clinic is evolving to include videography in addition to photography, editing, and tips for creating editorial queries to increase the chances of being published.

The brainchild of Mountain Hardwear athlete Nikki Smith, Open Aperture was founded in 2019 and has since guided more than a dozen participants. The program is designed to create a network of diverse photographers and content creators within the outdoor industry.

“For most of my life, I searched for and hoped to see someone like me in outdoor media, but I never saw it,” said professional climber, award-winning photographer and LGBTQIA+ advocate, Smith. “I know how much that affected me, and I wanted to do something to help change the lack of inclusion in photography. I worked with Mountain Hardwear to create Open Aperture, so that regardless of experience, we can open up doors and opportunities to support storytellers of all backgrounds.”

Since Open Aperture was founded in 2019, past graduates have used their skills and experience in the program to go on to shoot photography for outdoor brands and organizations. Cohorts from the first two runnings of Open Aperture will drive the selection of this year’s applicants as well as return in a mentorship capacity to this year’s participants.

Open Aperture is led by Smith, a National Geographic Adventure contributing photographer who has over 20 years of professional photography experience in climbing and the outdoors. The program is hosted entirely by Mountain Hardwear, including full-ride scholarships for participants that cover transportation, room-and-board, plus climbing and photography gear needed for the clinic in order to ensure all barriers of participation are removed for all participants. Programming includes multiple workshops, one-on-one mentorship with industry professionals, photo and video equipment, climbing, and more.

“Open Aperture was developed and is fueled by a passion for empowering underrepresented communities to share their stories,” says Matt Burbach, global marketing director at Mountain Hardwear. “We are dedicated to growing Open Aperture through expanded programming, support, and motivation so that adventurers from all walks of life have the opportunities to showcase their connections to the outdoors and climbing.”

Applications for Open Aperture are open through Oct. 9, 2022, and can be found here.


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