Tag Archives: Brown sisters

Four Sisters, Forty Years, Four Connected Lives

Laurie and Debbie say

We were both taken with this series of photographs by Nicholas Nixon. In 1975, he was visiting his wife’s family, and he asked her and her three sisters if they would pose for a photograph. The next year at a wedding, he asked them to pose again in the same order. And then they made it a yearly tradition.

Now, they have forty annual photographs of four women: Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie, the Brown sisters. Bebe is Nixon’s wife.


1987 Chatham

Susan Minot’s article provides the basic facts about the photographs. We recommend that you ignore her gender-essentialist, ageist simplifications and just look at the pictures.


2000 Eastham

Nixon chose to make these photographs about the women, and not about the photographer. The women almost certainly had a lot to do with that decision; these do not look like women you could easily manipulate. Everyone’s life gets written into our bodies and our faces as we age, and this is a rare opportunity to watch that being written, year on year. It’s no surprise that they each look more complex and interesting as they age, and the photos get even more satisfying.

The Brown sisters appear in these photographs as women with full, complex lives who take themselves seriously, women who are connected with their sisters, women who are comfortable enough with themselves to interact directly with the camera.


2011 Truro

Give yourself a present; take the time to look at them all.

Thanks to Lynn Kendall for the link.