Never Don't Pay Attention

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Never Don't Pay Attention: The Life of Rodeo Photographer Louise L. Serpa.

Louise Serpa was a trailblazing woman photographer. The first woman to be sanctioned to shoot photographs inside pro rodeo grounds, she was also a feisty cowgirl with a style all her own. Her work helped make the careers of many cowboys and her story is a classic tale of Western spunk and achievement.

Louise Larocque Serpa often said she was born “in the wrong place, to the wrong woman, at the wrong time.” Born in 1925 and growing up in New York society with a mother who was never satisfied with her rather lanky, unpolished daughter, teenager Louise eventually found happiness when she spent a summer on a Wyoming dude ranch scrubbing toilets, waiting tables and wrangling cattle. Later in life, she settled in Tucson, Arizona, where her introduction to photographing rodeos came about after a friend invited her to watch his children participate in a junior rodeo competition. Using a cheap drug-store camera, Louise began photographing youngsters as they bounced and bucked on small sheep and calves, then sold the pictures to proud parents, beginning a career that would span fifty years and take her to the highest pinnacles of rodeo photography. This biography of the legendary rodeo photographer Louise Sherpa, reveals the story of a woman who made her own way in a man’s world and who helped shaped the character of rodeo. Interviews with her contemporaries and family and photographs from her family archives add flavor to this lively portrait of a remarkable Western woman.

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