Selected Works

Alica Hattrick for Granta Magazine of New Writing

Julian Slagman has been taking photographs of his younger brother for over ten years. A child grows up, becomes a teenager, a young adult. You can see the photographer grow too, experimenting with
different styles and approaches, from staged portraiture to mor candid snapshots of the child in play, captured from different angles, often from above (as the older and therefore initially taller brother). Fairly little of the ‘stuff’ of childhood is shown; Slagman’s focus is on his brother as he ages, and the marks of experience his body retains, which in this child’s case includes the purposeful scars from medical procedures rather than juvenile accidents.
At first, I am looking for signs of scoliosis beyond the healing
incisions and purple scars. But Slagman’s images also capture human interventions in the natural world: a perfectly straight contrails in the blue sky, the branches of a shrub or tree tethered together to keep it growing upright.
Slagman’s photographs counteract the medical narrative as well
as the medical gaze. His brother is shown in motion or still, crouched down, or in bed asleep, at bathtime or playtime, times of rest as well as movement. He is acting out an imaginative battle game with his whole body and facial expression; he is sitting cross-legged surrounded by boxes of Lego; he is facing his brother and then turning away. Including these moments in the series, as well as the stems of the shrub that defies human intervention and control, we are encouraged to look at him
another way: as a child, captured inside of time unfolding, uneven and contorted. -