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Bud Dorsey: Longtime Louisville photographer dies at 80

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 12:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:42 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Charles Dorsey Jr., better known as “Bud,” died Thursday, WAVE 3 News has learned.

The famed Louisville photographer died at age 80.

Dorsey was a staff photographer for the Louisville Defender, and his work also appeared in the Courier-Journal, not to mention national magazines such as Ebony and Jet, among others.

In 2017, Dorsey published a book of his photographs of West Louisville, entitled “Available Light: Louisville Through the Lens of Bud Dorsey,” and described as “a love letter to Louisville.”

The following year, he traveled to Senegal, and his photos of women there were part of a 2019 exhibit called “Women Hold Up Half The Sky” at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.

WAVE 3 News anchorwoman Dawne Gee confirmed Dorsey’s death through his family. She said she knew him well for most of her life.

“For more than half a century, Bud Dorsey was the eyes, heart and the keeper of all the important pictures of the African-American community and the fight for justice in Louisville,” she said. “He showed every view of the African-American community, and when I say every view ... there are some who capture the protests, some who capture the sadness, but Bud Dorsey captured grandmothers and children and families and good times and bad times and fights for what is right. He captured the entire picture.”

Another legendary Louisville photographer, Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Dry, said Friday that he was shocked and saddened to hear of Dorsey’s death.

“Bud was not only a great photographer, but a great person and an amazing pillar in the Louisville community,” Dry told WAVE 3 News. “When I was at the Courier and he was working for the Defender, if we were going head to head on a shoot, I knew that if i didn’t absolutely go for everything, I was gonna get my butt kicked.”

To read more about Dorsey’s many accomplishments in Louisville and beyond, read his obituary in the Courier-Journal.

And below is a post from the KCAAH Facebook page announcing Dorsey’s death:

With great sadness, we share in the loss of Bud Dorsey on July 8, 2021. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Bud Dorsey's...

Posted by Kentucky Center for African American Heritage on Friday, July 9, 2021

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