From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Dorsey, Charles Ford Jr. "Bud"

(born: April 10, 1941  -  died: July 8, 2021) 
This entry was written by Juanita L. White; submitted April 2, 2019.

Photographer Charles Ford Dorsey, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Charles Sr. and Anna L. Lewis Dorsey. Charles Jr. decided at an early age to become a photographer, using his Kodak Hawkeye Brownie camera to take photos of friends and events. He cleaned the studio of noted Louisville photographer Arthur Evans, Jr. Dorsey worked without pay in exchange for photographic and film development lessons. He later joined the military and took photographs in the Middle East and Africa for the Navy.

After leaving the military, Dorsey enrolled at the East Los Angeles College to take photography classes. He would become a full time employee at the American Synthetic Rubber Company in Louisville while also working as a freelance photographer for the Louisville Defender newspaper and the magazines Ebony, Jive, JET, and Soul Confession. His photographs of models appeared in 11 Jet centerfolds.

Bud became the only full time staff photographer for the Louisville Defender, working for 25 years photo-recording Louisville's African American communities. He taught African American youth photography through his initiative, the West End Photographic Club. Two of his adult interns acquired full time photography careers with the Courier-Journal newspaper. His 2017 book about his life resulted in talks and photographic exhibitions at the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville public libraries. Photographs he took while in Senegal, West Africa became a 2019 public library exhibition.

References :

Dorsey, Bud. Available Light: Louisville Through the Lens of Bud Dorsey (Louisville Story Program, 2017).

"Available Light: Through the Lens of Bud Dorsey," The Louisville Defender, 9/14/2017.

Juanita L. White's personal interviews with Bud Dorsey.

*Additional information :

Adams, Kirby. "For 50 years, photographer Bud Dorsey has kept his eye on life on west Louisville," Courier-Journal, 2/26/2018.

Bill, Burton. "West Louisville through the lens of photographer Bud Dorsey," 89.3 WFPL, 11/2/2017.

*Charles Ford Dorsey, Jr. died July 8, 2021. See Emma Austin, "Famed Louisville photographer and visual storyteller Bud Dorsey dies at age 80," Courier-Journal, 7/9/2021.

Kentucky County & Region

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Available light : Louisville through the lens of Bud Dorsey
NKAA Source: Ebony (periodical)
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Louisville defender (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Dorsey, Charles Ford Jr. "Bud",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-06-10 16:31:02