The Main Stream

Feb 17, 2010 7:54 PM

Exhibit featuring work of Tucson photographer and daughter

TUCSON - An exhibit featuring some of the work of famed Tucson photographer Louise Serpa and her daughter Mia Larocque is now at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Louise was born in 1925 into the high society of New York City. A childhood trip to Nevada introduced her to the Southwest and made a lasting impression on her. When she was 17, she took a summer job at a Wyoming dude ranch where she was introduced to the rodeo. Her interest in the rodeo continued on the east coast, where she would interrupt her studies at Vassar College to catch the rodeo at Madison Square Garden.

She was drawn back west and began taking photographs at rodeos in Nevada as a hobby. When she eventually made her way to Tucson in 1960 with her two daughters, she began selling her photographs, as a way to make ends meet. Serpa had a natural instinct for rodeo photography, and some quick reflexes to get out the way of bucking broncs and snorting bulls.

Courtesy: Louise Serpa

In 1963 she became the first woman to receive a Rodeo Cowboys Association photographers' card. That card gave her permission to photograph RCA rodeos from inside the arena, one of the most dangerous jobs in the west.

In 2000, Serpa was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and in 2002 she received the National Cowboy and Heritage Museum's Tad Lucas Memorial Award.

She was photographer of the year for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2005. That same year Louise was also inducted into the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame.

Louise has appeared on national television and in publications too numerous to mention. Collections of her works are all over the Southwest as well as exhibits of her photographs.

Elephant Eye by Louise Serpa

The exhibit at the Porter Gallery will feature of some of Serpa's never-before seen photographs as well as some contemporary photographs taken by her daughter, Mia Larocque.

Locked by Mia Larocque

The exhibit will be on display from February 2 through March 1, 2010.
The Gallery at the Gardens is open daily from 8:30am - 4:30pm. General admission to the Gardens for adults is $7 and $3 for Children 4-12.

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