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Mountain Hardwear Celebrates Open Aperture Photography Clinic Scholarship Recipients

Six applicants from underrepresented communities receive scholarships to practice climbing photography and outdoor storytelling

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Richmond, Calif. (October 14, 2021) – Mountain Hardwear, a leader in performance equipment and apparel for climbers, mountaineers, and athletes, has announced the recipients of its annual Open Aperture scholarships. Mountain Hardwear received more than 150 applications for the program, having selected the following winners for 2021: Laura DeFrain, Lani Gailey, Bobbie Lee, David Lee, Trevor Riley and Rebecca Ross. 

Founded in 2019 and led by Mountain Hardwear ambassador Nikki Smith, Open Aperture is a photography clinic for underrepresented groups within the outdoor community who are interested in learning more about climbing photography. Its mission is to better equip historically marginalized communities to tell their own stories. 

“I’ve been teaching photography for the Rock & Ice Photo Camp and workshops at other events for eight years now,” explains Smith. “Over this time, I’ve seen that participants attending these classes reflected the stereotypical view of who recreates in the outdoors. I began ideating ways to help improve the diversity and thought if I could get industry support to bring photographers from underrepresented communities together, we could make a real change and better empower others to tell the stories of their own communities.”

This year’s Open Aperture participants not only learned climbing photography skills, but also improved their editing workflow and techniques as well as received tips to help create editorial queries to increase chances of getting their work published. Workshop topics included: portrait photography, working with brands and editorial sources, Lightroom, nighttime photography, and more.

“I dream of telling stories of marginalized individuals through art and sport practice,” says scholarship winner, Bobbie Lee. “Outdoor climbing is historically inaccessible to minority individuals like me. I want to build community and show the strength and beauty of underrepresented groups in sports, and it is in this safe space that I [want] to learn.”

The full-ride scholarships included participants’ transportation, room-and-board, and any apparel, climbing or photography equipment needed for the duration of the clinic that took place near American Fork, Utah, from Oct. 8-12. 

For any media inquiries or additional questions, please contact Kelsey McGrew,

About Mountain Hardwear

Mountain Hardwear, Inc., founded in 1993 and based in Richmond, CA, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear Company that distributes its products through specialty outdoor retailers in the United States and 34 countries worldwide. We build essential equipment for climbers, mountaineers, and outdoor athletes and have supported expeditions on the world’s highest peaks. This level of technical precision continues to inspire everything we do. Our designers challenge every stitch and detail to continuously improve both function and comfort.