Friday, 6 February 2015

The Brown Sisters

"(...) the sense that 12 months is just a mathematical marker, and that it is life, rather than time, that makes us all age to different degrees." (via)

In August 1974, US-American photographer Nicholas Nixon started taking photographs of his wife Bebe and her three sisters. What started "out of boredom" became the project "The Brown Sisters" (via). After the second picture, the sisters agreed to gather for a portrait annually and Nixon photographed them every year over a period of 40 years. On each picture, the expressions of the sisters vary (via).

Above: 1975

Always in the same order. Left to right: Heather, Mimi, Bebe, Laurie
When Nixon took his first photograph, Mimi was 15, Laurie 21, Heather 23, and Bebe 25.

Above: 1976

Above: 1977

“We are all aware of time passing and us not being aware of it while it’s passing, So seeing the sisters, for a lot of people, gives them a reliable marker that a year has passed.”
Nicholas Nixon

Above: 1980

Above: 1981

"Throughout this series, we watch these women age, undergoing life’s most humbling experience. While many of us can, when pressed, name things we are grateful to Time for bestowing upon us, the lines bracketing our mouths and the loosening of our skin are not among them. So while a part of the spirit sinks at the slow appearance of these women’s jowls, another part is lifted: They are not undone by it. We detect more sorrow, perhaps, in the eyes, more weight in the once-fresh brows. But the more we study the images, the more we see that aging does not define these women. Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like." (via)

Above: 1982

Above: 1985

Above: 1992

Above: 1999

Above: 2007

Above: 2012

"When 36 prints were exhibited in a gallery in Granada, Spain, viewers openly wept." (via)

Above: 2014

::: For the complete collection see The New York Times

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
- photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via
- more on the project: review


  1. Cool! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. A very special project.
      Many thanks, Karen.

  2. Replies
    1. Many thanks for leaving a comment, Wim.

  3. It's kind of beautifully depressing. ;-)

    1. Abbie Winterburn6 February 2015 at 15:41

      No, this is beautifully ageing.

    2. :-) You are right.

    3. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kenneth and Abbie ;-)