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feature:  Tamara Holden -Luminous Life Photography

Featured Artist, Featured Business, Galena's Own

Tamara Holden

Featured Business: Luminous Life Photography

Galena based artist, Tamara Holden, recently shared with us a little bit about herself, and what led her into the photography business. She is the owner of 

GG: Tamara, in 5 sentences or less, can you please tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Tamara: I have been a stubborn, full time follower of my artist muse for over 15 years, 5 on the west coast and 10 here in the beautiful Driftless.  I have a wonderful family who supports my endeavors if I make them curry and pie.  I spend my days in my studio, creating art, in my garden, or working on our nearly 200 year old fixer-upper Federal turned Folk Victorian.  I try to dance every single day- even if only for 5 minutes, and I also try to take one action per day to help people or planet.”
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GG: How long have you been in the photography business, and what initially drew you to it?
Tamara: “My professional history with this medium is 15 years.  When I look backwards over my life, I see it in still frames.  The frames that made the deepest mark on me are garden and nature scenes infused with light and color, life moments happening at my grandparents while rays streamed through the lace curtains, running though alkali dust and tumble weeds with cousins, the light on my newborn’s faces when they smiled for the first time.  I have always been one to notice life through an analysis of composition and and emotion.  I can’t stop myself from doing that.  I mean, I experience the moment, but my brain is always sizing it up.  I noticed once, as I watched a canoe slide by in the water, that I moved my head so the branch above would perfectly frame the canoe in my field of vision.  I had no camera with me.  Maybe I should see a shrink about this?  Haha.  I was not drawn to photography.  It was simply always a part of how I have processed my life moments.”
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GG: What are 2 things that you think people would be surprised to know about you?
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Tamara: That I am an artist first and a photographer second.  Art is what I do, no matter the medium.  I make my my primary living through photography. I also dance and do set design for productions, costumes, mixed media.  It might surprise people to know that I am a Belly Dancer and that my specialty is sword dance.  It’s always a little shocking for an audience to see me spinning all over the floor with a sharp sword on my head.”
GG: What types of photo sessions are your favorite?
Tamara: This question is always so difficult.  If you asked me my favorite color or my favorite food, it would be just as tough to answer. I don’t like picking just one of anything. I want to pick them all.  I guess my favorite photo moments are when people forget I am there and they are living in emotion of an experience and the light falls just right….and then after they see the image and they tell me how much it means to them that I captured that: fathers with tears rolling down a cheek as they dance with their daughter at her wedding, the tenderness of a couple toward each other as they hold their brand new baby….a child pouting.  I love all of that. I can do looking forward and smiling, but I know what will mean more later and that’s what I’m shooting for.”
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GG: Do you have any other businesses or hobbies besides photography?
Tamara: I teach and perform traditional and fusion Belly Dance. I offer intermediate level, performance focused belly dance learning.  I really enjoy helping people express themselves through dance.  Dance heals and empowers.  I create mixed media art.  I am obsessed at a ultrageek level with gardening and Permaculture.  I enjoy helping others with projects that foster sustainability.”

GG: As a California native, why have you chosen to make Galena, Illinois your new home?

Tamara: When I moved to this place, magic started showing up everywhere in my life.  It is beautiful. Also, there is a rich history here, from the indigenous people’s experience to the miners and settlers, to the cast of characters living here today.  It is the most supportive place I have lived in as an artist.  I came here and knew I was HOME.”

To contact Tamara about booking a photo session, she can be reached at She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 
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