Sarah Mei Herman

Sarah Mei Herman (1980, NL) is a photographer who explores relationships and intimacy between people. The closeness between them or what sets them apart, and the necessity of physical proximity to others. Young adults is a recurring subject in her work. Herman captures their constant state of becoming; the fleeting beauty of the continual changes on the way to adulthood; the gray area between friendship and love. She is drawn to the intensity, vulnerability and sometimes loneliness of this fragile and transitory stage of life. With this, the artist sets her lens to explore the gray area between friendship and love, and the constant state of becoming as young adults navigate the ambiguity of relationships in adulthood. Herman primarily works on lasting projects, repeatedly photographing the same subjects over time.

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 Fine Art Photography at The Royal College of Art in London. Her work has been shown internationally, among others at The National Portrait Gallery in London, Le Chateau d’Eau in Toulouse, Benaki Museum in Athens, Musée d’Art Moderne in Liege, JIMEI X ARLES International Photofestival in Xiamen and at Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne.

In 2018, Sarah Mei received the American Vintage Photography Prize and won the Rabobank Dutch National Portrait Prize. In 2020 her project Germano, about her Jewish family history, had a solo exhibition at the Jewish History Museum in Amsterdam. Next year it will be exhibited more extensively at Kaunas Photography Gallery in Kaunas, Lithuania. Herman’s work is part of collections at a.o. Rabobank Art Collection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AMC Art Collection, as well as a growing number of private collections. She received several grants from Mondriaan Fund, Prins Bernard Cultuur Fund and Amsterdam Fund for the Arts. 

Sarah Mei developed a project Solace centering stories of the LGBTQ community and queerness among Chinese people. These stories offer a sensitive and nuanced portrait of young people navigating the ambiguities of friendship, sexuality, and an undulating understanding of what it means to be queer in Chinese society. Solace was published as a book in New York in December 2022. The project was shortlisted for the Gomma Photography Grant 2022 and awarded an honourable mention. Recently, one of the portraits from Solace was selected for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2022 in London.

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