Sarah Mei Herman – Julian & Jonathan

My most extensive body of work is Julian & Jonathan: A series portraying the relationship between my father Julian and my twenty-one-years younger half brother Jonathan.

Since 2005 I have been photographing Jonathan alone or together with our father Julian. I am interested in the triangular relationship between the three of us. The memories from my childhood of the relationship with my father, are now in a way mirrored in Jonathan. By photographing him I try to approach our unusual sibling-relationship which I am part of at a physical distance, exploring what it means to share a parent. This work is very much about me, and this part of my family, as well as the relationship between a relatively older father and his son.

The relationship between Julian and Jonathan used to be very close; they seemed to share a world which I was not entirely part of. Jonathan recently turned twenty years old and is going through a very difficult time since his mother passed away last year. He shows even less of himself then he did before and seems to detach himself from everything and everyone, even from Julian.

Sarah Mei Herman studied photography at the Royal Academy of Fine Art in The Hague, from which she received her BA in 2005. In 2010 she completed her MA in Photography at The Royal College of Art in London.

Herman examines the relationships and intimacy between people, what brings them together or sets them apart and how physical proximity to others is a necessity in these relationships. She often focusses on the intimacy within the family, with a special interest in sibling relationships, which partly comes from the fact that she grew up without, always wondering what it would be like to have a brother or sister. By repeatedly photographing them she tries to get a closer understanding of what this familial intimacy means.

In March 2021, Herman’s series Julian & Jonathan was be exhibited at Museum Technische Sammlungen in
Dresden, as part of the Hellerau Photography Award 2021.