Bill Yates has been photographing since he was given his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, at the age of ten. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.A. in Art and Photography following active duty in the Navy. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975, studying with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. He also studied with Garry Winogrand and other master fine art photographers. Yates has enjoyed a forty-year relationship with friend and mentor, artist and photographer William Christenberry. Their many conversations have revolved around one another's work, the "South and its peculiarities," and always, the SEC and Bill C's beloved Alabama's Crimson Tide.
Yates’ work was juried into the 1975 Artists’ Biennial Exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art. That same year he had a one-man exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., curated by Jane Livingston. Group and solo exhibitions followed. Several of Yates’ photographs were selected from the Corcoran exhibition to be part of the first cultural exchange to China through what was then known as the USIA (United States Information Agency) following President Nixon's 1972 historic visit there.
He received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to curate and assemble a traveling exhibition of Florida's emerging photographers, was a curatorial consultant for photography to the Corcoran, and the Director of the University Gallery at New Mexico State University.
For the past fifteen years Yates has been involved with aerial photography, shooting corporate commissions and environmental abstract imagery from blimps, planes, and helicopters. He is now editing fifty years of work for a soon-to-launch retrospective website and travels the South photographing for bill yates photo, down southern roads, sweetheartnights on instagram. His photographs are held by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, High Museum of Art, Do Good Fund, and numerous corporate and private collections.