Born on base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Tamara Knox is an award-winning photographer, photojournalist, business owner, and single mother. She received a bachelor’s degree in business management from California State University, Sacramento and an associate’s degree in photography from Sacramento City College.
After graduating, Tamara started a photography business, worked in the Cultural Awareness Center at Sacramento City College, and co-facilitated community workshops on therapeutic photography and writing. She returned to school in 2020 to pursue her goal of becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker by earning a master’s degree in social work at California State University, Stanislaus, where she was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi.
Tamara currently works for Beloved Survivors Trauma Recovery Center as a Master Social Worker and Mission Minded Media, an expert storytelling service for nonprofits, as a visual journalist and support person for trauma survivors who are storytelling participants.
Tamara sees photography as her way of blessing others, “I want to be a strong voice to help others. If something from my photographs captures my audience’s interest and causes something to be done about a disturbing situation, then I have done my part to help someone cope with their situation.”
Let’s get to know Tamara!
Why did you accept the invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi?
I accepted the invitation because it was an honor to be invited. Phi Kapp Phi membership means that I am part of an organization that supports my academic excellence and future goals and aspirations.
What do you enjoy most about photography?
Photography is therapeutic and has been healing for me. It was the biggest motivator when I had to rebuild my life with my son.
What has been your most significant success in life?
My most significant success in life has been raising my son while attending graduate school.
Who was your role model growing up?
My role model growing up was my mom. She was a social worker. Although she was married, my dad was stationed miles away from home, so it was only my mom, brother, and I for years. I admired how she cared for us and worked as a social worker in group homes.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I’ve received is, “when you are at the bottom, the only way to go is up.” My parents encouraged me to do my best at everything I tried and always follow through with my commitments until the end.
What’s the first concert you ever went to?
The first concert I ever attended was by Kenny G, and Toni Braxton was his guest!
What drives you to be successful?
Supporting my son drives me to be successful. My faith in God and the support I receive from my wonderful role models in my colleagues, cohort members, friends, and family allow me to succeed.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated through the encouragement and support of my family, friends, and colleagues.
If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would love to meet two people from the photography and social work fields—LIFE photographer Gordon Parks and one of the founders of PhotoTherapy, Judy Weiser. Gordon Parks was one of the first photographers whose social justice work inspired me to pursue visual journalism. Judy Weiser’s work was the foundation of my research for my culminating graduate studies exam.
What advice would you give your past self?
I would tell my past self always to stay true to and believe in herself and trust in God during trials and tribulations.
To learn more about Tamara and connect, visit her profile within our online member community here.
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