Did you know Kanye West’s father was once an AJC photographer?

Kanye West is making headlines at the moment but his father made history – in Atlanta.

Ray West was one of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s first black photojournalists, and he produced acclaimed portraits in the 1970s and 80s of notables such as President Ronald Reagan, poet and activist Maya Angelou the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy.

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The elder West’s images capturing everyday life in Atlanta in those days is even more powerful than his photos of the famous. A child living in public housing poses in a delicate bonnet. Two men standing in front of boarded-up buildings shudder in the cold. Streetlights pierce the darkness of what’s described as “a haven for hookers.”

Here is a gallery of Ray West’s work. 

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