Russell R. R. Holmes (1843-1883) was a San Luis Obispo photographer. He was active in San Luis Obispo from 1873 to approximately 1879.

Early Life

Holmes was born 11 April 1843 in Missouri. By 1860 he was living in El Dorado, California, with his mother Rebecca, brother and sister, and stepfather, W. H. Poorman.5, 6 In 1870 he was described in the census as working in a door factory.By 1870 he was married to Allie Sparks. It appears that during this time in El Dorado he gained experience as a miner.

San Luis Obispo Photo Studio

Holmes opens a photograph gallery on Morro Street in May 1873, located across the street from the Tribune office.1

Holmes offered studio portraits, stereoscopic views of the county, 

In 1875 he named his studio "Sunbeam Gallery" and doubled the space with an expansion.Searching the newspapers, it appears that he wound down his practice around 1879.

By March 1883, A. N. Cunningham moved into Holmes' Gallery on Morro Street.

In addition to his photography business, Cunningham was also a member of a fire company of San Luis Obispo.

Holmes died of consumption in Arroyo Grande 3 May 1883, at age 40.3

See also:


1. "New Photograph Gallery," San Luis Obispo Tribune, 31 May 1873, pg. 2

2. San Luis Obispo Tribune, 27 March 1875, pg. 5

3. San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11 May 1883, pg. 2

4. 1870 Census, via

5. 1860 Census

6. San Luis Obispo Tribune, 30 November 1878, pg 5.