In the Summer of 2014 an envelope of previously unpublished portraits of William Burroughs were discovered in the archives of Lawrence, Kansas photographer Robert "Bob" Blank. Blank operated the Hixon Photo and Camera Shop at 721 Massachusetts Street untilits closure in the 1990’s.
Burroughs, having "retired" to Lawrence in 1981, sat for a portrait session on with Dixon on Jan. 5, 1983. Burroughs was customer number "G-7786."
Regarded as oneof the most subversive authors of the 20th Century, he was a member of the Beat Generationalong with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. His most notorious book Naked Lunchis a regular on “must read” and banned book lists.
The 7786 - Burroughs, Wm. print project represents a unique look at one of the most iconic, brilliant, controversial and subversive authors of the 20th Century. Discovered among a photo archive of more than 20,000 negatives, this previously unseen series of William Burroughs portraits gives us a rare and intimate glimpse at Burroughs and explores the concepts of iconography and identity performance.
Presented in a small-format hardcover photo book, this project asks readers to think about choices made by Burroughs while in the studio and his selection of a single portrait for use in promoting an upcoming personal appearance. This book dissects the image of a cultural icon and exposes a process in the creation and perpetuation of celebrity image.
On December 22, 2014 the 7786 - Burroughs, Wm. book was funded on Kickstarter by 158 backers who pledged $9,782. Books and rewards began shipping on May 15, 2015.
Rewards included embossed prints, boxed sets, tin types and limited edition hand-stamped books.
Spencer Research Library
On May 21, 2015 all ephemera from the 7786 - Burroughs Kickstarter Campaign, including original stamps, paperwork, correspondence with the Burroughs Estate and Victor Bockris and single copies of all editions and prints were donated to the permanent collection at the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas.
Also included were items from the Hixon Studios and the Robert "Bob" Blank archives.