© 2018 Sam Fentress All rights reserved.
From the foreword, by Paul Elie:
"Photographs of biblical signs and suchlike have served as material
for documentarists since the Great Depression, and I’d guess that
most of us have seen those signs in photographs more often than
we’ve seen them through car windows on actual roadsides. Sam
Fentress’s photographs stand apart from the ones we know well.
His is more than a documentary effect; he doesn’t record those
messages so much as transpose or transfigure them into the
permanent light of photography. It is this – a kinship of heightened
means, a shared sense of what is at stake at the side of the road
– that gives them their radiant originality and expressive power."
. . . "Fentress’s fencepost proverbs and exhortations are at the
side of the road, but they are at the center of our religious life
today, not at the margins. They are not the work of primitives or
regionalists. They don’t carry the evidence of a prior way of life;
they don’t pronounce judgment on our society. Rather, they
express the fierce Christian belief, the mood of end-times fear and
dread, that is in uneasy coexistence with our bustle and optimism."
Paul Elie, formerly a senior editor with Farrar, Straus and
Giroux, is now a senior fellow with Georgetown University's
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Elie is the
author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American
Pilgrimage (2003), an account of the interwoven lives and
literature of Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day
and Walker Percy, and Reinventing Bach (2012) .
Over the last twenty-five years Sam Fentress criss-crossed
forty-nine states, photographing thousands of religious signs
along America’s highways, city streets, and country roads. He
found messages placed on the elemental raw materials of
everyday life, on bikes, cars and buses, trees and rocks.
Bible Road: Signs of Faith in the American Landscape is the
result of these sometimes sought, sometimes serendipitous
encounters. A striking photographic chronicle emerges from
the most unlikely places, from beauty salon windows, highway
pylons and burger joint marquees. These pictures, both
individually and collectively, document a distinctly American
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SIGNS OF FAITH IN THE