Photographer Hank O'Neal


One of O’Neal’s views of East Texas includes a group of domino players at Starnes Store in Winona, 1972 with Price Killion, Horace Chaney, Dow Graham, Emmit Cagle, and Clyde Dale.

Photo by Hank O'Neal

Hank O’Neal was born in Kilgore in 1940, and the family moved to Fort Worth, Indiana, and New York. In 1962, he was about to graduate from Syracuse University when he was recruited by the CIA and worked for the organization as a contact specialist. He lived in Greenwich Village and immersed himself in Harlem’s jazz scene. His artistic interests overtook his world of espionage and by 1972 he founded a small independent record label called Chiaroscuro Records. In 1973, he published his first book and held a photography show, “Winona, Texas,” in Manhattan.

O’Neal has taken photographs all over the world, but none better than those in East Texas where he has emotional attachments.

He’s collaborated on many other creative projects with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and counted guitar legend Les Paul among his friends.

He’s photographed and befriended Andy Warhol, Elie Wiesel, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and Jacqueline Kennedy, just to name a few from his world in New York and beyond.

O’Neal’s photos from around the world are displayed on his website Under “Places,” he has categorized his favorites into France, England, Norway, the Far East, and other adventurous lands. At the top of the list sits East Texas.

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