Denise Whithorne passed away Nov. 3. Her family writes on her Facebook page that she died peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Whithorne was an extremely talented photographer who shot several covers of Camp and was a fixture at the Missouri Gay Rodeo Association Show-Me State Rodeo for many years. Crouching in position in the arena, she took some of the best action shots of the rodeo that they’ve ever had.
Her career also included photography work for area newspapers, where she often was given sports assignments because of her talent for action photography. Whithorne was also an artist who experimented with different forms of her photography and displayed her work at the annual Fringe Festival.
Besides her talent, Denise will be remembered for her very giving personality.
Here's an excerpt we wrote about Denise in August 2013:
Whithorne has been photographing the rodeo since 2008. In fact, the cover of this rodeo issue of Camp is her work from that year’s rodeo.
“I wasn’t really invited. I just went. And then I asked if I could take pictures, and they said, ‘Sure.’”
Whithorne wasn’t raised with horses, she said, but she used to have a thoroughbred with her former partner, who kept the horse when they broke up.
She is a veteran of professional photography in Kansas City, having worked as a freelancer for the Kansas City Kansan and the Kansas City Star.
“I’m studying now. You study every day,” she said about her work. She’s taking classes at Johnson County Community College on design software to incorporate with her photography. She was trained in film photography.
“With film, you had to know everything. You didn’t have an automatic button. You had to know your exposure,” she said. Whithorne described a conversation with a person who told her she always is surprised when she gets a good digital photo and asked her how she gets her photos. Whithorne responded, “Well, that’s what I wanted — what I shot. How can you take a picture if you don’t know what you’re taking?” She laughed at the memory.
You can find the full article at Changing Focus.