The famous photographer Nicholas Nixon was tired of tedious family get-togethers in the 70s and wanted something different. He found the inspiration from his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters, Heather, Mimi, and Laurie, and decided to take a photo for the Brown sisters every year, and it turned out to be an amazing look back four decades later.
When the sisters began taking pictures, Heather was 23, Mimi was 15, Laurie was 21 and Bebe was 25. But Nixon was unsatisfied with the first picture taken in 1974 and threw it away. In 1975, he tried again, and then it became an annual tradition.
Nixon took the third photo for the sisters in 1976. The young women wore dresses and offered up a relaxing pose for the camera. Each was standing casually and incredibly confidently in the summer sunshine.
The sisters gradually started to establish their own styles in the 1979 picture. One of them opted for a dress, while the others chose pants. One sister held her arms close to her body, making viewers wonder what she was thinking.
It was a summer’s day for the picture taken in 1981, the sisters showed off their lean legs, looking extremely pretty.
Moving on to winter, they were all bundled up, leaving their hair wind sweep and at the same time showing off their natural beauty to the world.
At the tip of Cape Cod, these coltish young ladies displayed a more grown-up look, showing a sense of maturity.
It was over a decade into the project. The sisters kept themselves serious, looking straight into the camera, remaining as familiar and mysterious as ever.
The four sisters gave a slow smile in this photo, leaving us wondering if something good had happened or if it was merely a nice day and they wanted to enjoy it.
The sister on the right-hand side seemed to change her pose slightly, standing behind another. The mild smiles were put to rest this year, making us assume it might have been a challenging year for them.
In this photo, they began showing outward signs of aging, but they had aged very well.
All of the sisters assumed different poses this year, and two of them avoided looking directly into the camera.
The smiles appeared as the years flew by, giving us an inkling that something might have happened to keep these sisters together through the hard times.
Unlike the other pictures, this photo was taken by the sisters themselves. It’s unclear why Nixon was not able to be around for this year’s photo.
All sisters had different expressions on their faces in this photo, some seemed happier while some were not pleased, but looking in from the outside you have to believe that they were all truly dedicated to this annual tradition.
This time they chose to wear plain colored clothes but looked even more elegant than before.
It is unclear where they took this photo, but it seems to be a beach where they assumed their relaxing poses.
Wrinkles are clearly visible on the four sisters' faces, but they were as confident in front of the camera as ever.
The four sisters have visibly aged, but their bond is still easy to discern from the image.
The photos became famous when The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon opened on the 1st April 2013 at Sotheby’s, New York.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, staged an exhibition of The Brown Sisters complete set in the museum lobby and attracted the eyes of many patrons.
This is Nicholas Nixon’s 41st annual photograph.
At the time of the last photograph, the sisters were 58, 64, 66, and 68, and still close. It is thanks to Nicholas Nixon’s work that the four sister’s appearance and the close bond they maintained over 40 years have been recorded and are known by the world.
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