Jerry Siegel

Siegel was born and raised in Selma, AL, and graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta.
He was awarded the Grand Prize of the first Artadia Award in Atlanta in 2009. 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. This body of work has been featured in 6 solo exhibitions in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. His second book, Black Belt Color, released in May 2017, published by Georgia Museum of Art, focuses his attentions on documenting the unique, cultural landscape of the South, concentrating on the Black Belt region of Alabama. His work is in many private, corporate and public collections, including the Do Good Fund, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, High Museum of Art, Georgia Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Telfair Museum, Morris Museum of Art, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and many other Southeastern U.S. Museums.

Black Belt Color

My love of the South, my roots, the people I have known and their stories have drawn me to capture the essence of the Black Belt and the dwindling southern town.

I was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, where family and friends were most valued. It was all I knew. 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. When Craig Air Force base closed in 1977, it was hard felt for Selma and the community.

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. Even with the passing of my parents, my siblings and I have kept the family home and still maintain a bond with our past.

I have shot many photos in Selma, but never with a real focus or vision. When my father died in 2000, I began to see these places differently. Buildings that had changed faces many times were beginning to disappear. This led me to look more closely at Selma and its surroundings—the haunts of my youth, driving the streets, old stomping grounds and back roads. I continue to shoot these places that hold a special meaning for me, but I find myself documenting also the new look of Selma, Dallas and Perry County, and the surrounding area. It is a portrait, a present-day contemporary view of the small towns and rural areas of the Black Belt region of Alabama. What I have sought to convey is the reality as I see it and the emotions that accompany it.

To view more of Jerry’s work please visit his website.