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Beloved Louisville photographer Bud Dorsey dies

Dorsey documented the city's history for 20 years as the Louisville Defender's only full-time photojournalist.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville is mourning the death of well-known photographer Bud Dorsey — a pioneer, mentor and leader in the city's African American community.

If something important was happening, or a big name was in town, Dorsey was there. After receiving a camera from a relative in the 1950s, Dorsey started making deals with local photographers — sweeping floors at a local portrait studio in exchange for tips on how to develop film.

Eventually, Dorsey became the only full-time photojournalist at the "Louisville Defender" newspaper, documenting the city's history for 20 years.

"His body of work tells a very, very wonderful story about the struggles of African Americans in Louisville," said Aukram Burton, executive director at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage. "He was well-respected across the board."

Photos featured in the Louisville Story Program's book -- Available Light: Through the lens of Bud Dorsey

Dorsey also had his photographs published in national magazines like "JET."

Though he rarely did interviews, Dorsey spoke with WHAS11's Great Day Live in 2017 about how a photographer knows they have the perfect shot.

"It's a magic moment," Dorsey. "When you capture that and see it physically...it's a good feeling."

Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted about Dorsey's impact on the community Friday afternoon.

"Over 50 years, Bud built an incredible portfolio of artful frames showing important moments that may have otherwise been missed. So thankful for his kindness & commitment to telling these stories & more, & for the indelible mark he leaves," Fischer said.

Congressman John Yarmuth said a Dorsey photograph greets him each time he goes in his office.

RELATED: Available Light examines life through the lens of photographer Bud Dorsey

RELATED: The rich history of the 'Louisville Defender'

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