Jerry Siegel: States Project: Alabama
Today, I am excited to share Jerry Siegel‘s images of the Black Belt region in Alabama. I first became acquainted with his work through The Do Good Fund, a collection of Southern photography, in which both of us have work. One of the main things that immediately stood out to me about his work is his use of color. The vibrancy and detail he captures combined with his love and nostalgia for the region creates his truly unique vision of the Black Belt.
Jerry Siegel is a native of Selma, AL, and a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta. In 2004, after more than 20 years as a commercial photographer in Atlanta, Siegel focused his attention on fine art documentation of the unique, cultural landscape of the South, concentrating on the Black Belt region of Alabama, as well as his ongoing series of portraits of Southern artists.
His first monograph, FACING SOUTH, Portraits of Southern Artists was published by the University of Alabama Press in 2011 and features portraits of 100 Southern artists. His second book, Black Belt Color is scheduled for Spring 2016.
Siegel was awarded the Grand Prize of the first Artadia Award in Atlanta in 2009. Artadia is a New York–based national program that awards artists of outstanding merit with substantial, unrestricted funds and connects them to a network of opportunities.
His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta; Montgomery Museum of Art in Montgomery, AL; The Jule Collins Smith Museum in Auburn, AL; and the Telfair Museum, Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah,GA. A commissioned body of work for the Columbus Museum in Columbus, Georgia was featured in the 2009 solo exhibition Now and Then, Snapshots of the South.
His work is in many private and corporate collections including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, High Museum in Atlanta, Birmingham Museum of Art and ten other Southeastern US Museums.
Black Belt Color
My love of the South, my roots, the people I have known and their stories have drawn me to document the unique, cultural landscape of the Black Belt region of Alabama.
I was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, where family and friends were most valued. Selma was a vibrant, small southern town, really no different from many towns throughout the South. I was sheltered and oblivious to the tensions and unrest of the times. I was only seven when Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.
Many things have changed since then. And Selma is not the place I remember. I have never lost my attachment to and sentiment for Selma. I find myself documenting the new look of Selma, Dallas and Perry Counties and the surrounding area. It is a portrait, a present-day contemporary view of the small towns and rural areas of the Black Belt. What I have sought to convey is the reality as I see it and the emotions that accompany it.
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