Adam Siegel'’s photographs make me think of William Faulkner'’s observation about time: “The past isn’t history,” Faulkner said. “It isn’t even past.”
Siegel’'s photos are a study in opposites. He juxtaposes color with black and white, female with male, youth with age, the privacy of the body with the openness of public space, the new with the old, the now with the then, to make us think about how we circle around the past in an effort to reabsorb it into our lives with new meaning. The work is about shuffling memory, holding things dear and finding things out.
The figure in these images – a tightly cropped, young, pink female nude - holds small cracked snapshots from another era. From the look of her skin and body in contrast with the sepia tones and telltale 1940’s details, we can tell she is too young for these memories to be hers or even her parents’. They are memories of memories, records of optimistic moments that happened generations earlier, views of natural scenes traveled to on vacation, romantic forms of transportation – World War II propeller planes, motorcycles, sailboats. Siegel asks us to consider not just the photo album nostalgia these images suggest but broader themes such as cultural history, genetic memory and myth. For these photos are not only or even mainly personal. They suggest the universal sense of discovery and loss we all feel in the presence of our collective past.
Margaret Hawkins - 2007