Written by Sarah Mei Herman
In 2019 Emerson & Wajdowicz Studios in New York commissioned me to produce an extensive photography project about the Chinese LGBTQ – community, as part of the “Diverse Humanity” book series. I traveled to Xiamen portraying young queer couples and singles. Apart from the photographs I took of these subjects and their personal surroundings, I also interviewed them about their life, love and also, their personal fears. Because of the pandemic I haven’t been able to return to Xiamen. This is why I continued the project in the Netherlands, France and Germany photographing young Chinese people from the LGBTQ community there. The book is published by The New Press and will be released on the 22nd November.
In response to my previous project “Touch” which I started during an artist in residence at the Chinese European Art centre in Xiamen, China, in 2014 I was approached by Jurek Wajdowicz - artist and director of Graphic design studio Emerson & Wajdowicz Studios to produce an extensive photography project about the LGBTQ - community in China. EWS specializes in socially-conscious multi-media design and art. They design a series of photography books Diverse Humanity, completely devoted to LGBTQ-themed stories, showcasing the rich diversity and complexity of its communities around the world.
In September 2019 I traveled to Xiamen to start this project. I portrayed 14 young queer couples and singles. I found all of them through my existing network in Xiamen and we got into contact through Wechat. Apart from the photographs I took of these subjects and their personal surroundings, I also interviewed them about their life, love and also, their personal fears. Because of the pandemic I haven’t been able to return to Xiamen. This is why, two years after my trip to Xiamen, I decided to continue the project in the Netherlands, France and Germany photographing young Chinese people from the LGBTQ community there. The book is published by The New Press in New York and will be released on the 22nd November.
About the artist
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 received several grants from Mondriaan Fund, Prins Bernard Cultuur Fund and Amsterdam Fund for the Arts. 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. Herman's work has been included in several art collections such as Rabobank Art Collection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and AMC Art Collection. She was a finalist for Hyères Festival of Fashion and Photography 2018 where she received the American Vintage Photography Prize 2018. That same year she also won the Rabobank Dutch National Portrait Prize. In 2020 her project “Germano”, about her Jewish family history, was exhibited at the Jewish History Museum in Amsterdam. Next year "Germano" will be exhibited more extensively at Kaunas Photography Gallery in Kaunas, Lithuania. Recently Herman finalized a commissioned photo book "Solace" by Emerson Wajdowicz Studios about the Chinese LGBTQ community. The book will be published by The New Press in New York after the summer. Earlier this year "Solace" was shortlisted for the Gomma Photography Grant 2022 and was awarded an honorable mention. Recently one of the portraits from "Solace" was selected for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize in London.