Photo History: The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon

Curators’ Corner

Photo History: The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon

In 2006 Nicholas Nixon exhibited a collection of photographs that were cumulative sum of over 30 years of work; “The Brown Sisters”.

This collection of 31 photographs, shot annually from 1975 to 2005, is comprised of group portraits of his wife, Beverly, and her three sisters, Heather, Mimi and Laurie.

Nixon set only a few parameters within which he could work: the sisters always appeared in the same order and though he makes a number of exposures, he only choses one each year from which to make that year’s photograph.

Seen together, the 31 images stitch together the story of four women and their relationships’ evolution over decades. But, both individually and as a set of sisters, you can see the effects of time; changing fashions, the growing depth of lines and wrinkles, even shifting exchanges of affection- through all that their personalities remain. Perhaps the greatest challenge Nixon met with this body of work was to capture an honest moment shared by four individuals every single year, as consistently as time wore on their bodies as faces.