Steamboat photographer joins Colorado group to raise money for separated families at the border |

Steamboat photographer joins Colorado group to raise money for separated families at the border

Cara Bartelme, Colorado photographer was inspired to start Portraits for People, a collective of Colorado-based portrait photographers who have come together to protest the separation of families at the border.
Cara Bartelme Portrait Design

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Images have the ability to break and remake hearts all at once.

“I always tell my clients I want to stop time for them,” said Cara Bartelme, a photographer based in Boulder and Longmont. “As a community, we treasure the soft, silly moments of childhood, and we seek to preserve those memories as children grow up.”

With work that focuses on family connection, particularly between mothers and their young children, the zero tolerance policy at the border — resulting in more than 2,300 kids separated from their parents since early May — hit a little too close to home for Bartelme.

Calling representatives, donating money and signing petitions wasn’t enough for her. She wanted to make a bigger impact.

Portraits for People was the answer.

The collective of Colorado-based portrait photographers have come together to protest the separation of families at the border by donating their services.

“As photographers, we honor and value the connections between people above all else. We believe families belong together,” Bartelme said.

How it works: Local families can purchase discounted portrait sessions in July and August at, and all profits will be donated to RAICES, a nonprofit agency that provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas.

“Images are powerful. Every photograph we are seeing in the news of border chaos and abandoned children are jarring and stir up personal emotions and the desire to help in the best way we can,” said Danielle Zimmerer, the only participating Steamboat photographer.

Zimmerer will offer Portrait For People sessions from July 9 to Aug. 11.

“We must do more than talk about what an atrocity this policy is. We must act,” said Zimmerer. “Reaching out to our community, I hope we can create images and memories that remind us of our privilege and the importance of togetherness and rallying together to help others.”

At this point, Portraits for People is only in Colorado with about 18 photographers from all over the state that Bartelme found through the Colorado Female Photographer’s Facebook group, an online community for professional photographers in Colorado.

“I knew that I could turn to this community to help realize this goal,” Bartelme said.

After President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the policy of separating children from their parents, Bartelme stressed that help and donations are still needed.

“We still need to support groups who are reuniting separated families and who are working to ensure that refugee children are not being traumatized further,” Bartelme said.

To sign up for a portrait session, visit, and choose a photographer in the area. Each listing describes the price of the session and what it includes. Photographers who are interested in participating can also sign up on the website.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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