Sandra Lee Tatum is a documentary photojournalist, writer and animal rescue volunteer from New Mexico. She photographed indigenous cultures for 20 years and worked as staff for the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Fe Reporter and Indian Artist Magazine. She has freelanced as a photographer for Agence France Press, The Associated Press, Reuters, various newspapers, magazines and ad agencies. She spent a decade focused on the Tibetan world. Previous documentary photojournalism covered the homeless, cajun and native cultures in the United States, and muslim culture in South, S.E. Asia and Western China.

Native American coverage included photos for Insight's Guide to Native America, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, War Dancer Film Group, and The Native American College Fund.

Sandra's spiritual resume includes a decade as an apprentice to don Miguel Ruiz M.D., (NYT best-selling author of The Four Agreements, 1999, co-author of The Fifth Agreement, 2010.) She learned to guide others to sustained happiness through freedom from emotional suffering and continues this focus today. Her Christian faith has been nurtured by two decades of continued participation in the Native American Church. His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa privately identified her Tibetan dharma name as Karma Pema Lhamo (Lotus Goddess). Monks from recurring childhood dreams became real life friends during her embedded reportage of their culture.

Sandra has a B.Sc. in Political Science with a minor in Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She has studied strategic communication, media management and law at the graduate level and will begin earning a Master of Criminal Justice degree through New Mexico State University in 2010.


Sandra is a dedicated animal rescue volunteer. Over sixty displaced pets have been in her foster care, one at a time- many with special needs. She is also a parrot servant. Sandra provided the final three years of at home elder care and advocacy for her Mexican grandmother and documented this experience for a forthcoming book. Sandra welcomes media opportunities to discuss her current book, Tibet Revealed, An American Photojournalist Lifts the Veil.