Last winter, photographer Hannah Bailey set up the community interest group Wandering Workshops alongside snowboarder Lesley McKenna. They aim to create a new space in ski and splitboard touring (like snowboarding!) At the first-ever workshop, she gave participants a Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera to capture their perspectives of the backcountry and snow. Here she explains what the workshops are about and why they are important.
Hi Hannah, how have you been since we last spoke?
I think the last time we spoke I had set off on a summer road trip around Scotland with a Simple Use Camera two years ago! Now I'm sitting here in Aviemore in the Highlands of Scotland getting very excited for the upcoming winter as the temperature here has dropped and the snow has hit the tops of the hills. I have had a busy summer shooting a skateboarding project also in the Highlands, it has been so nice to focus a lot of my creativity and output from 2022 on my doorstep here in Scotland, telling stories and showing off the landscape. Now I am so looking forward to a bit of winter hibernation, and by that I mean getting out on the snowy hills with my splitboard.
Tell us about these Wandering Workshops and the photos we can see here?
Wandering Workshops is a community interest group based in the Cairngorm National Park in the Highlands of Scotland, started by myself and renowned snowboarder/athlete, Lesley McKenna. We run outdoor and snow touring workshops, events, projects and work on collaborations. Through everything we do with Wandering Workshops, we are on a mission to make the outdoor and action sports space accessible to more people. We know the barriers people face to try splitboarding and ski touring for the first time (or anytime!) and we really want to break these down. Personally, myself and Lesley have had so many amazing, impactful and satisfying adventures in the backcountry here in Scotland so we want to pay it forward. Wandering Workshops provides a safe space for under-represented groups to join in. We believe the outdoors is for everyone, and we all have the right to enjoy the wellbeing it offers.
Why did you decide to shoot these events with the Simple Use Camera?
An important part of the workshops is storytelling and photography as we see it as a way to show more perspectives in the outdoors - to more people, beyond those on the workshop itself. You have to see it to believe it. Anyone who has been on a workshop could inspire someone new to join in and give touring or the outdoors a try.
We load up the Lomography Simple Use cameras for each workshop and hand them out to participants. Throughout the day, there are themes that emerge throughout the group and we set off to capture these during the tour or adventure. For example in February we were really captivated by the patterns in the snow, the friendly faces of the group, and the contrast the sun and shadows created. It is important to us that the simple use cameras are not disposable and can join us on adventures time and time again. We want to do what we can to protect the nature we play in!
How did you find the experience and results from the camera?
I am an avid film lover and have been for a long time, as Lomography knows! I love the creative angle and unpredictability the use of the camera, plus the film, plus the conditions provides - 36 unexpected outcomes. It is like the adventure itself, you can plan so much, but the (adventure or creative) outcome is dependent on a variety of things out of your control. For people on the course it was really nice to have something simple and easy to shoot with - it wasn't adding complexity to the photography side of the workshop, as they had a lot to think about from an equipment and safety point of view. The ease at which they could quickly snap a shot on their way up the hill meant we got some really nice candid snaps that capture what wandering is all about - shared experience and unique perspectives.
What's coming up next for Wandering Workshops?
We are getting ready here in the Cairngorms to welcome the next season of snow tourers, with weekend workshops kicking off January 21st. We have dates for February too - and people can get in touch to sign up. Also this upcoming season we are an official Snowsports Scotland course provider, so we are starting the qualification side of things to help more people enter this area and bring even more people into the outdoors in the right way - with sharing, responsibility and protection in mind!
To find out more about he Wandering Workshop visit their Instagram page.