Colorado Mountain College photo students shooting free portraits |

Colorado Mountain College photo students shooting free portraits

Staff report

Courtesy of Colorado Mountain College

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Photography students at Colorado Mountain College will be shooting family portraits for free next week, in the school's fifth annual participation in the international Help-Portrait program.

The local effort, according to CMC's administration, will be conducted at the Basalt Middle School cafeteria on Nov. 22, from 5-8 p.m.

"The event will transform the Basalt Middle School cafeteria into several fully equipped digital photography studios, including printers," the school announced in a press release. "Portraits will be printed and delivered that night."

Help-Portrait began in 2009 as a program to provide free portraits "to families that are struggling, disadvantaged or homeless," the release explained. "Over the past five years more than 282,000 portraits have been given to families, by 20,000 photographers and 30,000 volunteers."

The program, which is now a global effort, is active in 62 countries and more than 2,100 locations, according to the Help-Portrait website (, and a worldwide event is planned for Dec. 7.

Last year, according to the website, nearly 81,000 portraits were given out, after being shot by more than 3,800 photographers, helped by 8,300 volunteers in 47 countries.

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Photographers throughout the world have been invited to take part, and a discussion string on the Help-Portrait website carries a lengthy number of queries and offers to help.

Events are set up at a wide range of locations, from the Children's Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa., to a photo gallery in Pretoria, to a homeless shelter in Las Vegas, Nev., to a food pantry in Detroit, Mich., and more.

The website was created by entrepreneur, blogger and social activist Kyle Chowning of Charlotte, N.C., who recently posted the comment, "As someone who isn't a photographer, it's been amazing to see both professionals and amateurs come together to use their skills to give back."

According to the statement from CMC, this is the fourth year that CMC students have been involved, "providing hundreds of portraits" to participants at Help-Portrait events in Carbondale or Glenwood Springs.

"It's a pretty powerful way for our students to experience the face-to-face impact of sharing their skills with others," said CMC public relations director Debra Crawford.

This is the first year that the local event is being conducted in Basalt.

For more information about the portrait sessions, contact Derek Johnston, program director and professor of photography at the Isaacson School for New Media at CMC, at

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