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Signs of the South

August 18, 2013 - October 6, 2013

Developer's Airstream, North Florida, 2007

“Rick transforms these everyday social landscapes into photographs of archival value. Each image has a life of its own. One can easily become emotionally involved in the honesty and simplicity of the work--work done with his heart and his mind. Many of these pictures will recall personal memories and others offer a fresh experience.” — Robert Lerner

Earlier this summer, Rick Lang was featured in the Alumni Focus Exhibition alongside fellow Daytona State College alumni Rick Wagner and David Monroe. While this exhibition was on display, Rick Lang passed away from complications with melanoma. In his will, Rick left all of the photographs from his exhibition to the Southeast Museum of Photography. We are honored to have received this gift even though we wish it was under better circumstances. Out of respect for Rick Lang, the staff at the Southeast Museum of Photography wanted to extend a variation of his exhibition through October 6, 2013 to allow family, friends and the community more time to view his photographs and to pay tribute to Rick’s extensive career as a photographer, educator and curator.


This exhibition presents a grouping of images of vernacular and often simple signs and buildings that dot the landscape of the American South. These images demonstrate Rick Lang’s commitment to documenting the signs and symbols used by everyday citizens to make their voice and opinions public. The images also illustrate the role that personal and commercial written expression plays in creating public discourse. The expressions of love, hate, religion, bigotry and many other opinions and emotions present in these signs point to an important and often overlooked discourse that illuminates our hopes, dreams and disappointments.

“My photography is the expression of my interests in history, culture, and travel. I am a visual storyteller that uses my sense of composition, lighting and the craft of photography to make images that chronicle the American South. Much of how I do this is to integrate the found written word or sign into the environment. In doing so, I create a relationship between the land and the people who live there and tell something of their lives and history.” — Rick Lang
Uncle Joe's Fish Camp, US27, South Florida, 2003


Rick Lang was well-known throughout Florida as a photographer, educator and exhibition curator. His photography has been exhibited throughout the state and in many parts of the southeast, including solo exhibitions at Middle Tennessee State University, the Civic Theater Gallery, Orlando, Orlando City Hall Gallery; Crealdé School of Art and at the Center for the Study of Southern Art and Culture at the University of Mississippi. Rick has been exploring his personal vision for the past 35 years.

Born in California in 1954; he moved to Winter Park, Florida with his family in 1959. He took up photography as a hobby in his senior year in high school, and it has played a major role in his life ever since. After studying at Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park from 1984 to 1986, Rick started at the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies at Daytona State College, where he graduated with honors in 1989. After graduation Rick worked as a commercial photographer and taught part time at Crealdé.

In 1995, Rick was named the Director of Photography at Crealdé; a position he still holds. He has also taught photography at Valencia College and Daytona State College.

As part of his work at Crealdé he has curated some of the most important photographic exhibitions at the school including A Shared Legacy: Documentary Photography of Florida from the 1930’s and Today (2003); 150 Years of Photography (1989); Arnold Newman: Portraits of Artists (1991); 50 Years Apart (1996) and Southern Faces (1999). His work is in numerous public and private collections including the State of Florida Collection and the Southeast Museum of Photography. Rick Lang’s photography has also been published in two books: We the People ...of Orange County and Small Town Orange County. Lang’s awards and commissions include Art Services Council Individual Artist Awards in 1992 and 1993; United Arts of Central Florida Professional Development Awards in 2009, 2006 and 2003 and a 2008 State of Florida Artist Enhancement Grant.

All photographs are Pigment Inkjet Prints.

signs signs
P-Nut Stand, Leesburg, Florida, 1999 Sweet Corn, near Sandford, Florida, 2012

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The Southeast Museum of Photography is a service of Daytona State College
1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. (Building 1200) Daytona Beach, FL, 32114, (386) 506-4475
Free Admission & Parking

Click HERE for museum hours of operation

Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

Daytona State College prohibits discrimination and assures equal opportunity in employment and education services to all individuals without regard to age, ancestry, belief, color, disability, ethnicity, genetic information, gender, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, and veteran status. For more details, read our Equal Opportunity Statement or contact: Lonnie Thompson, Chair of the Equity Committee at 386-506-3403 or 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, Fl. 32114.