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Art by Louisville Story Program

Title: Four girls in a church pew

Medium: Photography by Bud Dorsey

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About the Artist

Photographer Bud Dorsey passed away at the age of 80 on July 8. His four children have asked the Louisville Story Program (LSP) to submit some of his photographs on behalf of his family since LSP was Mr. Dorsey’s publisher. LSP has donated their proceeds from this project to Mr. Dorsey’s children.

Since Mr. Dorsey cannot answer the prompts himself, LSP would like to share some things he wrote before his death. He once modified an Abraham Lincoln quote to say, “Character is a tree and reputation is its shadow. Don’t be afraid of your shadow–it’s just a constant reminder that there’s available light all around you.” This encapsulates Mr. Dorsey’s approach to documenting Black life in Louisville over the past 50 years–he saw beauty and dignity and talent and kindness in every moment of every day in parts of Louisville that usually only made the evening news when some awful crime occurred. His photography shows all of us how to see, and healing cannot begin without the entire community seeing what he always saw in often-misrepresented parts of Louisville.

Other quotes from him: “I believe there is nothing more artistic than to love people. I feel that art/photography is not what you see but what you make others see. The word griot is the word for what I do and the role that the photojournalist has in society. The visual griot is a messenger of one’s time…a visionary with a camera and the creator of the future.”

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