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About the Gallery

True South, Paul Dagys
August 17 - September 9 2006



“Learning about the South is a great step towards understanding America, for in some ways the rest of America is becoming more like the South, notably in her music, her politics, and her religious trends.  At times it seems the South has changed greatly, because of the influx of Northerners into urban centers.  But surveys show those whose roots are in the South retain a high degree of traditional attitudes in terms of family, religion, race, and militarism.  For many, the modern South is the remnant of a lost utopia.”


The South's identity, according to Flannery O'Connor, results from beliefs and qualities "absorbed from the scriptures and from her own history of defeat

and violation: a distrust of the abstract, a sense of human dependence on the grace of God, and knowledge that evil is not simply a problem  to be solved, but a mystery to be endured."


These photographs portray visual manifestations of that Southern identity. Along the back roads of the South, I’ve found stories written in faces, and in the ways we southerners embellish our vehicles and homes, our vernacular architecture, small business signs, even tombstones. I plan to continue searching for expressions of the South’s most creative aspects, as well as the tragic aspects of her history.  On a more universal level, these images are about people and places that have been around,  have taken a few hits, been battered and bruised but still find humor, hope and transcendence in everyday life.  


Some photographs were produced with the assistance of a grant from the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.



About the Artist:


Paul Dagys feels most at home when on the road.  He is a pilgrim and born-again Buddhist, who once knew the secret of the universe but forgot it.  His photojournalism work has appeared in LIFE, Time, Smithsonian, People, Forbes, Parade, U.S. News, USA Weekend, Newsweek, Historic Preservation, and more than 100 other periodicals.  Recently, he has exhibited throughout the Triangle and in New York, Georgia, and Tennessee.

"The Big Shoe, South of the Border SC" Paul Dagys

20 Glenwood Ave. Raleigh NC 27603