Each year for 40 years, Nicholas Nixon has photographed his wife and her three sisters, always lined up in the same order. The resulting series of black-and-white photographs shows the inevitable march of time, as the sisters’ unlined faces and fierce expressions soften and deepen; as their stances change from individual, distant, almost surly, to entwined, loving and protective.
All 40 portraits of the Brown Sisters — Heather, Mimi, Bebe (Nixon’s wife) and Laurie — have been displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. If you missed the show, you can see the gathered images in MoMA’s book, Nicholas Nixon: The Brown Sisters. 40 Years.
Much has been written about the photographs, but perhaps the best summary comes from MoMA: “These silent records, with their countless shades of visual and emotional gray, can promote a new appreciation of an intangible part of (the world): the world of time and age, of commitment and love.”
Here, the artist speaks about his work:
Nicholas Nixon. The Brown Sisters, Harwich Port, Massachusetts. 1978.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. John Parkinson III Fund @ 2014 Nicholas Nixon
Nicholas Nixon. The Brown Sisters, Wellesley, Massachusetts. 1988.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Family of Man Fund @ 2014 Nicholas Nixon
Nicholas Nixon. The Brown Sisters, Brookline, Massachusetts. 1999.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the artist @ 2014 Nicholas Nixon
Nicholas Nixon. The Brown Sisters, Wellfleet, Massachusetts. 2014.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Cornelius N. Bliss Memorial Fund @ 2014 Nicholas Nixon
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