i'll have various divs in there all with individual <img src> tags, but they don't work for some reason. but if i make the div background image the same source through the css, it works. i have no idea why this is going on, any help?
The problem is that you are not specifying the correct path to your images folder. It works with CSS because the CSS file is in your theme folder. Keep in mind that your WordPress theme is not in the root directory of your server. You need to specify your template path then call the image accordingly.