Selected Works

Looking at My Brother by Res

For many of us born at the end of the 20th century, we learned something about photography from our family photo albums. Through the photographs we became a family, we saw what we aspired to, what moments were worth remembering and recording, and what the passing of time looks like. The camera was taken out with the good silverware, at the big game, with the diplomas and the travelers checks, its presence wasn’t uncommon, but it wasn’t casual. We focused on what we were seeing, not necessarily aware of how we were seeing and who was doing the seeing, “Once the picture was made, the photographer disappeared, to be replaced by the viewer,” we saw a family telling itself the story of itself.

What Julian Slagman saw in his family albums was a little different in that he could see what the photographs couldn’t show. He explains, “both of my grandparents were photographers … when my grandmother accompanied my granddad on his trips through Germany, she would photograph him, focusing on him disappearing underneath the cloth.” He could see the photographer and the reverence for the act of photographing, and although Julian couldn’t always see what they were seeing, he inherited their deep dedication and love for looking and acknowledges the sharing of this role as foundational to his practice, stating “Their intimate relation, that they found through photography was perhaps what made me look at my brothers in a similar way.”

Julian was born in 1993 in Hamburg, Germany. Years later, after his mother remarried, his brother Mats was born in 2004 and the youngest Jonah in 2008. Julian was 15 years old when he began photographing and reflects, “I found myself in a great situation, of being a teenager, witnessing how a little boy is being brought up and raised in our society, while I was myself kind of still in that process too. The camera made me learn a lot about growing up.”  We can see Julian coming of age behind the lens as he tries on different photographic approaches and experiments with different cameras as most teenagers do with styles of clothing or genres of music. As Julian ripens, we follow these boys blooming over the nearly 15 years of photographing, resulting in a collection of images that holds together and distills the wild, unpredictable, and often divergent processes of three evolving individuals circling each other as they move through time. Looking at my brothers, is a dedication to Mats and Jonah, as Julian asks both them and us, “to understand our vulnerability in relation to time.”

1 Peter Galassi, Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort, The Museum of Modern Art: Distributed by H.N. Abrams, 1991, p. 7

2 All quotes from a series of conversations held between Res and Julian Slagman in the spring of 2023 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

3 Konica Hexar AF, Leica M6, Leica M9, Leica S007, Sony Alpha 7r III, Fuji X100, Mamiya 7 II, Fuji GFX SII, Nikon FE2, Yashica Electro 35, Canon 5D M2, Fuji X-Pro 3, Rolleiflex 2.8F

Text by Res