Bill Yates 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 enjoyed a forty-year relationship with his late friend and mentor, artist and photographer William Christenberry.
Yates was a 2013 PhotoLucida Critical Mass Top 50 winner. He exhibited on THE FENCE in Atlanta and Houston in 2015. He had a one-man exhibition Bill Yates: Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink 1972 – 1973 at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, LA, in October 2015 and at Hathaway Contemporary, Atlanta, during the 2016 Atlanta Celebrates Photography Festival. Recent permanent collections including the High Museum of Art, St. Petersburg MFA, Wellesley College Davis Museum, as well as numerous private collections.
His recent book, Sweetheart Roller Skating Rink (Fall Line Press, Atlanta), won the 2017 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Book Award (Silver Award) in both the Best Photographic Art Book and Best One-Two Color Design categories.