March 6, 1997 - March 29, 1997
In those parts of the South where small enterprises come and go, signs are often painted by hand on sheets of metal or plywood, on the brick and plaster of exterior walls or directly on the glass of shop windows. Sometimes ambitious wall murals that describe religious or historic events cover entire sides of buildings. For several years, I photographed the signs and murals when I stumbled across them. Then I began to make excursions looking for them and whenever possible, for the people who painted them. Some have been produced by bold volunteers, others by painters of local renown.
The ones that draw me in have a sense of story or character, told with daring of someone not intimidated by the task of picture making, someone who knows that the point of a picture isn’t so much to make something look real as to tell you what is real. I like to think that these are the signs of people who mean to be pictured by and for themselves, people who will leave their image to stand, accruing others layers of reality, for as long as the elements permit.