LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville photographer Billy Davis III has donated more than 40,000 aerial photographs of Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana to the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville.
A 1973 graduate of U of L, Davis documented from the air the urban growth of Louisville in the 1960s and 1970s. He has since photographed most major land developments in the area, including the conversion of the Plainview area from farmland to subdivisions and the expanding population in eastern Jefferson County.
The collection also includes aerial and other photographs by David’s father, Billy Davis Jr. A photojournalist, Davis Jr. first photographed Louisville during the 1937 flood while working for the Chattanooga News. He moved to Louisville in 1939 and was appointed head of the photography department at the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times in 1941, a position he held for three decades.
The elder Davis’s aerial photographs were collected in the book “Over Kentucky: 40 Years of Aerial Photography,” published in 1981. His 1963 photograph “Flood in the Mountains” shows the swollen Kentucky River snaking through the mountains of Perry County, Ky. It was circulated worldwide and became one of the most published photographs ever to appear in the Courier-Journal. He shared in a Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Courier-Journal in 1964 for coverage of strip mining and another Pulitzer given to the photography staff in 1976 for coverage of the desegregation of Jefferson County schools.