Latest Louisville Story Program book honors work of iconic West Louisville photographer Bud Dorsey

Dick Gregory at a march in Louisville in 1997 | Photo by Bud Dorsey

This weekend, when comedian and civil rights icon Dick Gregory died at age 84, the Louisville Story Program‘s social media account tweeted out a picture of Gregory leading a civil rights march through Louisville in 1997 taken by Bud Dorsey.

Because if there’s something going down in West Louisville, be it somber or joyful, Dorsey is always there taking pictures.

This week, the Louisville Story Program will debut a book of Dorsey’s photographs at the Muhammad Ali Center. Some of those photos also will be part of an exhibition, open through January, at the center.

“Available Light: Louisville Through the Lens of Bud Dorsey” is the name of both the book and the exhibit. On Thursday, the Louisville Story Program and the Ali Center will celebrate both with a free event featuring remarks from local community leaders and a book signing.

Dorsey, 76, retired from his job at the Louisville Defender as the paper’s only full-time photojournalist in 2002.

According to a news release, “‘Available Light’ is a love letter to Louisville, crafted outside of mainstream arts and media worlds over five decades by a man who cares and has always been there to bear witness.”

“The Ali Center is proud to make available some of Mr. Dorsey’s photographs for the community to see,” said Donald Lassere, president and CEO of the Ali Center, in a news release. “Like Muhammad, Bud has become part of Louisville’s history and has made our city a better place. By capturing moments in time that might have been forgotten or dismissed as irrelevant, Bud has generated stories that now have meaningful and concrete relevance.”

Darcy Thompson, director of the Louisville Story Program, added, “Since Bud Dorsey grew up with Muhammad Ali, and since both Mr. Dorsey and the Muhammad Ali Center have a long-standing love for and commitment to the Louisville community, we are honored to collaborate with the Muhammad Ali Center for this event.”

Bud Dorsey | Courtesy of Louisville Story Program

Insider spoke to Thompson in June when the Louisville Story Program launched a Kickstarter for the book. It raised more than $13,600 on a $10,000 goal.

Thompson talked about his time with Dorsey with emotion. He said they’ve had “many, many, many, many conversations,” and he has traveled around the city and state with Dorsey to watch him at work.

Working with the photographer, he said, has been “a great pleasure and a great honor.”

The large format hardcover book retails for $35 and will be available for purchase at the Louisville Story Program’s website and in local bookstores.

The event at the Ali Center will take place on Thursday, Aug. 24, starting with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6. Admission is free.