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Jerry Siegel
Birds, Perry County
archival inkjet print
Image: 24 × 63 inches (61 × 160 cm)Framed: 36 5/8 × 76 5/8 inches (93 × 194.6 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of the artist in memory of Sara Jane and Schuster Siegel.
Accession Number
Jerry Siegel, a highly-regarded photographer from Selma, Alabama, has worked as a fine art, advertising, and corporate photographer for the last two decades. Like many artists, Siegel is continuously drawn to his roots and considers his photography to be “a journey to [his] beginning.” The result of this is his Black Belt Color series, which explores the artist’s relationship with this region of the Southeast known for its dark, rich, cotton-growing soil. While the term originally refers to the color of the land, it has layered meaning as the region where enslaved African Americans worked the land for white plantation owners.

This panoramic digital image was taken on a back road in Perry County, Alabama as Siegel drove to visit a friend. While passing by the crooked tree at the right of the photograph, a flock of birds climbed into the sky and then returned to their nesting nooks on the tree branches. Eager to catch the pulsing murmuration of the birds, Siegel stopped his car and honked his horn, which produced their second flight from the tree. The broad, sweeping scope of the panoramic photograph places the birds at the center of the image, a thick black cloud hovering over the empty road and farmland.