Monday, May 06, 2013

Nicholas Nixon's The Brown Sisters

There's something about photographer Nicholas Nixon's series The Brown Sisters that is so striking to me.

A portrait of his wife Bebe and her three sisters has been taken every year since 1975.

I find the series peculiarly moving. No sense of joy, even in the earlier photos. No carefree years. You get the sense these women have weathered some difficult times. Some years, it almost seems like there's a silent war between the subjects and the photographer.

And the women seem to get gradually closer over time. Connecting with each other more. Physically supporting each other. I don't know the stories of any of these women but these photos are uniquely evocative.

I know some folks have created animated GIF versions but I find myself compelled to linger on the individual photos. Go back and forth over the years, seeing how their faces and expressions change in subtle ways. Seeing how their relation to each other shifts year by year.

(Note how one of them gradually turns into a trans Christian Bale.)

2 Comments:

Blogger Nick Gaffney said...

I was telling my students about these photos this past semester.

5/06/2013 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger M. Alice said...

And now it's on Misanthropy Central!

5/06/2013 12:54:00 PM  

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