Lighntin’ Hopkins Marker Fund Announces Exclusive Fundraising Project

Limited Edition Lightnin' Hopkins Print

In cooperation with the Estate of Andrew A. Hanson and Photographic Archives Lab & Gallery, Dallas, the Lightnin’ Hopkins Marker Fund is pleased to announce an exclusive offer to help raise money for the fund. Beginning today, a portrait made in 1959 by Andrew Hanson of Lightnin’ Hopkins will be available for purchase.

Andrew (Andy) Hanson was born March 7, 1932 in Falfurius, Texas. He graduated from the University of Houston in 1955 with a B.S. in Journalism. Upon graduating in 1955 he took a full-time position as photojournalist at The Houston Post until 1959. In 1960 Andy moved to Dallas to join the fledgling photography staff of The Dallas Times Herald where he remained until the newspaper closed its doors in December 1990. In 1996, the City of Dallas and the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division of the Dallas Public Library purchased over 23,000 photographs and an estimated 11,000 rolls of film from Hanson taken between the years 1960 and 1990. This constitutes the largest single collection at the library that chronicles Dallas during these decades.

Hanson’s vast portfolio includes national and local politicians, notable business leaders, singers, musicians, stage-screen and television stars, sports heroes, comedians, authors, artists, and opera virtuosi to name a few. Hanson passed away in 2008 at age 76.

This portrait of Sam Lightnin Hopkins is one of Hanson’s signature images and one of his favorite photographs from a 53-year career in photojournalism. He was 27 years old when he made this photograph, and this was his first introduction to the blues singer. Hanson was a thoughtful and intuitive shooter with a medium format camera, and a craftsman with lighting. There are no duplicate exposures of this pose and no wasted film, just one remarkable negative and the photograph speaks for itself. This limited edition of prints was made in 2007 from the vintage negative; one of only four surviving negatives from that shoot. Though Hanson left little information surrounding the occasion for the Hopkins portrait, it is understood that it was made on assignment during the summer of 1959 for a future, undetermined purpose. The shot was arranged in Hopkins’ modest bedroom that he rented in a private shotgun home just off Dowling Street in Houston’s Third Ward. Hanson photographed Hopkins on at least four subsequent occasions. This image was ultimately used as the cover for Hopkins’ recording Autobiography in Blues on the Tradition label (TLP1040).

Now is your chance to own a piece of history. For $100 (plus $15 shipping and handling), you will receive one of just 50 existing prints made according to Hanson’s specifications prior to his death. The image as printed, exclusive of the black border, is shown above. It’s specifications are:

Lightnin’ Hopkins
Houston, Texas, 1959
Modern print from vintage negative,
edition of 50
Gelatin silver print,
fiber base,
black and white,
Image size: 8 x 8 inches.
Paper size: 10 x 8 inches.
Estate stamp on verso and recto margin.
Each print will be numbered.

Proceeds from the sale of these prints will benefit the Lightnin’ Hopkins Marker Fund. The Fund was established in 2009 to help fund the costs associated with obtaining an official Texas Historical Commission marker honoring Lightnin’ Hopkins. The marker was awarded on February 1, 2010.

A dedication ceremony will be held at a later date. You may purchase a print by contacting Eric Davis at or by sending a check or money order made out to:

Lightnin’ Hopkins Marker Fund
501 East 16th St.
Houston, TX 77008

Photographic Archives Lab & Gallery in Dallas, Texas, opened its doors in 1981 as a custom black & white darkroom service with a specialization in reproduction and repair of 19th and 20th century photographs. The business now includes a digital lab, a conservation framing service, an archival supplies store, and a photography gallery exhibiting local and regional artists and historical collections. The Archive has a large number of other photographs available by Andrew Hanson. For more information about the Archives services and products, please contact Andy Reisberg at .


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for covering this effort; every bit of coverage helps the project. At this time, only 40 prints remain available. Own a piece of history and support a great cause.

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