Jan 5, 2012 3:30 PM

Famed rodeo photographer Louise Serpa dies at 86

TUCSON - Internationally acclaimed photographer, Louise Serpa died at her home in Tucson Thursday.

Serpa, who battled cancer for over three years, photographed the Tucson Rodeo for the final time in February 2011. Serpa is survived by daughters Lauren Serpa and Mia Larocque, and grandson Taylor Grammar.

Gary Williams, general manager of the Tucson Rodeo and Serpa's long-time friend said, "I saw Louise last Sunday and she asked him how long the two had been sparing back and forth-over 30 years."

"Damn, that's not long enough," quipped Louise, "So I guess I'll stick around a bit longer." she said. "I wish she would have made just one more rodeo," said Williams. "Her passing represents not only a personal loss, but a professional loss as well. Louise did more to promote the sport of rodeo, and specifically the Tucson Rodeo, than anyone," he added.

Serpa's daughter, Mia Larocque, a professional photographer who learned her trade from her mother, believes, "There's no better way to experience the action and emotion of rodeo than through the eyes of Louise Serpa."

Serpa has been widely credited with spurring the international notoriety of the sport of rodeo through her gallery-style images; she was often been referred to as "the Ansel Adams of rodeo".

A tribute to Serpa will be scheduled at the Tucson Rodeo in February; the 87th annual event (Feb. 18-26) would have been the 50th time Serpa photographed the action at the event. A collection of Serpa's images are currently featured in the photo gallery at www.tucsonrodeo.com.

"Spirit of Rodeo Shared in Images", an exhibit of Serpa's photographs, along with the works of her protégé and daughter, professional photographer Mia Larocque, opens Friday, January 6 at the Tucson Airport's Lower Link Gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public.


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