When Nicholas Nixon first snapped a photograph of his wife and her three sisters, he saw a very special bond. The project became so much more than just a yearly photograph. The Brown sisters, thereafter, began a yearly tradition of Nixon taking their picture, standing in the same order. It spanned across four decades and became an intimate look at the tight bond of sisterhood. The collection is to be featured at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as a publication titled, “The Brown Sisters: Forty Years”. Here are 40 pictures of sisters together every year for four decades
This was the first of pictures taken for the project. The girls ranged in age from 16 to 26 at the time. The sisters looked so young and fresh faced here.
Its’s amazing what a year does. Since the last shot was taken, the sisters look much more mature. Their clothing style has become less youthful and they are coming of age.
“A woman without a sister is like having a bird without wings” You can see the strong family resemblance here in this zoomed in photograph.
These girls know that there is truly no better friend than a sister. They are lucky enough to have that friendship tri-fold!
A new decade begins, but the girls hold onto one another. Their faces are much softer in this photo, they know they are growing up and are doing anything they can, to not grow apart.
“A good friend knows all of your best stories, a sister has lived them with you.” -Unknown
The sisters have transformed from girls to beautiful young women, hearts still joined. This photo was taken in the winter and they huddle together to keep warm.
“Side by side, or miles apart, we are sisters and are joined by the heart”. Here we can see these girl growing into fine young women.
The family ties hold them together, even when life threatens to pull them apart. Together, these four move through life.
Now a decade from when this project began, each sister has become her own woman. By now, they may all have their own daughters.
We may not know the stories of each of these women, but these photos truly exemplify the unbreakable tight bond these sisters have.
“To have a loving relationship with a sister is not just simply having a buddy or a confident, its like having a soul mate for life” – Victoria Secunda, author.
In each photograph, they have stayed in the same order, this one though, is the first that it seems they are all smiling. Perhaps it was taken during a celebration? That, we will never know.
“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost”. Time is ticking away and family becomes more important. We still see the closeness of these women by the proximity of which they are standing..
The photographer, Nicholas Nixon, said that outfits were never planned out for these photos, hair was never done or make up applied. Vanity was, by far, the least of the concerns of the images.
“Our paths may change as life goes along, but our bond as sisters will remain forever strong”.
This is one of the first images we have seen where not all four are making direct eye contact with the camera. Perhaps this was a year of turmoil, a level of discomfort is expressed through the lack of attention for the moment.
Its coming up to 20 years since the first photo. We can clearly see they have grown and aged. We can also see they still have the tight unexplained sisterly bond.
“Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for one another.” – Carol Saline. author, public speaker, journalist.
These women still have an incredible closeness. Their arms are naturally draped around one another with such carefree ease. Nothing will come between these sisters.
The 10 year age difference from the youngest sister to the eldest has started to become not quite as noticeable as the Brown sisters get older. They are all strong women in their own right.
The photographer, Nixon, always left the decision up to the Brown girls to choose their favorite image. Only once he disagreed with their choice, but the sister’s pick was the final in the end. It seems like they were a force not to be reckoned with!
“Sisters are just different flowers but from the same garden” – Unknown.
The new millennium is approaching and these four are so very lucky to remain this close. Some families go years without seeing one another
There’s something so classic about the black and white images that Nixon continues on. These girls are still holding on tight!
A quarter of a century has passed since the first shot and the sisters are looking more alike than ever before.
“Giggles, secrets and sometimes tears, sisters and friends throughout the years”
Almost 30 years have now passed for the Brown sisters since the project started. The wrinkles begin to appear and youth starts to fade away.
“She is your sister, she is your mirror, shining back at you a world of possibilities. She is your witness who sees you at your best and worst, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion. She knows you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your sister. She is your heart”.
Heather, Mimi, Babe and Laurie continue the photo series as we continue to wonder the blessings and burdens life has given them through their four different journeys.
Now the women are ranging from ages 47 to 57, the Brown sisters know what kind of women they are. Confidence builds with age and these women show it with every new photograph.
“Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should all have respect for that.” -Eartha Kitt, singer, actress, comedian.
What a wonderful treasure for the Brown family to have all of these pictures that chronicle decades of sisterhood and growth. A perfect keepsake for their own children.
“She’s my sister, my soul mate, my best friend and the best part of me”.
Age is etched on the sisters faces. We can still see the love between them. A special bond that has never faltered over the decades.
The series of photos we have witnessed, tells the story of the sisters without giving away any actual details. As they say, “A picture can tell a thousand words”
“In the end, family is all we have, my dear. You’ll do well to remember that.” – Katie Jennings.
Timeless is a great way to sum up these women. Giving a glimpse into their close relationship with one another is beautifully captured in each image.
Family is not a choice we get to make, but dedicating time and love to your family is a decision that we can ultimately control. The Brown sisters, over forty years, continued to choose one another.
Family Above All Else
It’s amazing to think what kind of things each of these women have accomplished in four decades, the memories they have made and the things they have learned. Not knowing them is part of their allure, faces we begin to recognize and wonder about. One thing is for certain, these women put sisterhood above all else and that, in itself, is quite precious.
[Featured image credit: www.imgur.com/a/E3omc]