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The University of Texas at Austin


Center Acquires the Al Satterwhite Photographic Archive

Muhammed AliMuhammad Ali, ca. 1970-71, Al Satterwhite Photographic Archive
Hunter S. Thompson, 1974,  Al Satterwhite Photographic ArchiveHunter S. Thompson, 1974, Al Satterwhite Photographic Archive
Arnold Schwarzenegger,  1976, Al Satterwhite Photographic ArchiveArnold Schwarzenegger, 1976, Al Satterwhite Photographic Archive

The Briscoe Center has acquired the Al Satterwhite Photographic Archive. Satterwhite's varied career has spanned the worlds of photojournalism, political photography and advertising. He became renowned in the 1980s for his saturated color style, as well as an emphasis on composition and design—a subject upon which he has published numerous technical books.

"Before modern apps like Photoshop enabled images to be manipulated with vibrant digital effects, professionals had to tirelessly experiment with photographic equipment and myriad development techniques in order to create images that dazzled the end-viewer. Al was one of those who did this best," said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. "His work for politicians and newspapers, as well as his projects that document southern culture and Americana, make his archive a valuable addition to our photojournalism holdings.

Satterwhite began his career in the late 1960s working for Florida's St. Petersburg Times. In 1968 he was hired as the personal photographer of Claude R. Kirk, the governor of Florida. Over the next ten years he became a successful freelancer in the advertising industry, eventually working on projects for Coca Cola, Porsche, Sony and American Express. His images—which portray celebrities, sports personalities and cultural events—have also appeared in Life, Look, Money, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and Time.

"Al's famous photographs of Muhammed Ali, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hunter S. Thompson represent these cultural icons in their primes," said Carleton. "There is always something distinctly American about the look and feel of his work, which makes his archive an important cultural resource for the center."

In recent years Satterwhite, who lives in Los Angeles, has made several films while continuing to lecture, hold workshops, produce gallery shows and manage book projects. His archive includes prints, contact sheets, portfolio folders and other documentation.