Al Satterwhite came to his passion and drive for photography quite by accident. Sure that he would become an ace pilot and gunning for an Air Force Academy appointment, instead Satterwhite landed a high school job as a photographer intern at the St. Petersburg Times. All “Top Gun” dreams vanished as he fell in love with the imagery and subjects through his new lens in life.
Majoring in Photojournalism at the University of Missouri, Satterwhite studied under the legendary Professor Cliff Edom. He participated in the renowned Missouri Photo workshop. Later he transferred to the University of Florida to continue his photographic studies under the expertise of Jerry Uelsmann. Satterwhite photographic style was particularly influenced through his study of Harald Mante’s “Photo Design” where he honed his sense of composition and the use of color in design.
Fittingly, Satterwhite began his photographic career back at the St. Petersburg Times. After a year he was pegged to become the then Governor of Florida, Claude Kirk's, personal photographer. They remained friends until Kirk’s death in 2011. After living out of a Learjet for the better part of a year and finding politics not challenging, Satterwhite quit to freelance as a magazine photographer for the next decade on assignment for most major magazines including Automobile, Car & Driver, Fortune, Geo, Life, Look, Money, Newsweek, People, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Time, Travel and Leisure and others.
Expanding his photographic horizons, Satterwhite moved to New York City in 1980 to launch his own production company for advertising. For the next 12 years he was known for his national and international advertising campaign work for clients such as American Express, Coca Cola, Dole, DuPont, Eastman Kodak, Johnson Outboards, Kent International, Molson, Nikon, Oldsmobile, Porsche, Polaroid, R J Reynolds, Saab, Sony, Tuborg, Universal Studios and Westinghouse.
As a respected and diverse artistic photographer Satterwhite was engaged by Kodak as a digital imaging consultant for several years. He has lectured at Boston University, Brooks Institute of Photography, Hallmark Institute of Photography, ASMP, NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, and PhotoExpos in Los Angeles and New York. His workshops at Dawson College (Montreal), ICP (NYC), Kauai Photographic (Hawaii), Maine Workshops, Missouri Workshops, Palm Beach Photographic Workshops, Santa Fe Workshops and at his studio in NYC were always in high demand. Satterwhite still lectures and is a guest workshop leader at various workshops and seminars today.
Satterwhite’s stark black and white imagery and signature style of color and design are represented in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), George Eastman House, Polaroid Collection, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Ft. Wayne Museum of Art, as well as numerous private collections. His limited edition 1978 color monograph, Al Satterwhite/California, is in the Museum of Modern Art book collection. In 2014 the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art dedicated a solo show for Satterwhite presenting his iconic imagery of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson at the exhibit titled Fear and Loathing on Cozumel. The same year Satterwhite’s iconic photograph of Hunter Thompson was included in the important Smithsonian show, American Cool.
Published photographic books include The Cozumel Diary (adventures with Hunter S. Thompson in Mexico), Titans (Muhammad Ali & Arnold Schwarzenegger), the Racers (the Golden Age of endurance motor racing), Carroll Shelby (one of the most iconic racing giants of the 60s) and Satterwhite on Color and Design. Satterwhite is currently working on a new photographic book titled Southern Exposure, featuring his never before published images that capture everyday life in the South during the 1960’s and ’70’s.
Satterwhite’s passion and curiosity in capturing images has expanded to motion pictures and television advertising. As a Director/Cameraman many of his feature short films have won festival awards. Never without a camera in hand, Satterwhite lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Valery, and two Zen-Masters, both of them cats.