Longtime 'Tennessean' photographer Billy Easley laid to rest - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Longtime 'Tennessean' photographer Billy Easley laid to rest


A Nashville newspaper photographer is being remembered as a pioneer in his field. Billy Easley, whose work with a camera captured the history of Nashville for more than two decades, was laid to rest Friday.

Easley and his camera were the eyes of Nashville in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Long before the Internet and YouTube, if you wanted to see what was going on in this city, you needed a newspaper.

His photos appeared every day in The Tennessean.

"He had a passion for news, human interest stories and human events," said daughter Cassandra Easley.

Cassandra Easley said she didn't know way back then that her dad was recording history.

"He never talked about it, only if I asked him about it. That was it with dad," she said.

His images showed Nashville changing: the Union Station Hotel coming back to life, Opryland Hotel getting even bigger and the wrecking ball knocking away the history around the Ryman Auditorium.

"I'm thinking, 'Wow! That's great photography,'" Cassandra Easley said.

Celebrities came his way, too. Among his subjects were Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip on the racetrack, and Luther Vandross and Charlie Daniels on the stage.

Cassandra worked as a copy girl with her dad at The Tennessean. So, too, did a young cub reporter, future Tennessee senator and Vice President Al Gore.

"I think it's a very interesting picture to see the younger Al there," Cassandra Easley said. "During that time, Al and Tipper [Gore] both worked at The Tennessean, so we all knew each other."

Maybe not so much then, but she knows now, her father's pictures are worth more than a thousand words.

"To me, his are worth a million words," Cassandra Easley said.

Billy Easley was 88 years old. More than anything, his civil rights photos will forever be a part of Nashville's history.

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