4 Sisters Took The Same Photo For 40 Years


1975: Nicholas Nixon’s second photo of the Brown sisters: left to right, Heather, Mimi, BeBe and Laurie, in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Sisters share a very special bond. Being a sister means being part of a wonderful experience. These four sisters decided to document their experiences in a special series of insightful photographs. Join the four woman as they document their personal lives in a series of incredibly insightful photographs taken over four decades. It all began in the summer of 1974 when Nicholas Nixon visited his wife’s family. He wondered if the sisters would agree to pose for a quick picture and he took the very first image of his wife, Bebe and her three sisters. However he did not keep the 1974 photograph but the following year, he took the first of the photo-series where the four sisters poses in the exact same order in every photo. The only change we see is the location and time. Heather, Mimi, BeBe and Laurie lined up in the same order back then. They have done so for him ever since for forty years showing the passage of time.

In 2014, this series of photographs of the Brown Sisters were part of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In subsequent years, Nicholas Nixon has exhibited the photographs at the National Gallery of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He has also exhibited the photographs internationally. They also appear in Nixon’s book, “The Brown Sisters.” Nixon, born in 1947, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. He teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.


Hartford 1976

Nicholas Nixon is married to Bebe, the eldest Brown sister, who was twenty-five years old at the time he took the first photograph in the collection. The other sisters are Heather, Laurie and Mimi. In 1975, Heather was twenty-three, Laurie was twenty-one and Mimi was fifteen years old. On a whim, Nichola Nixon took the first photograph not thinking much of it, but then it soon became a tradition. The composition of the photograph remains the same each year, with the women positioned in the same order from left to right: Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie. Nixon has always photographed using a large format eight by ten inch view camera on a tripod, and the photographs are always in black and white.

Here, the sisters wear dresses and offer a relaxed pose for the camera. The young women look to the future with great hope. Each stands casually, relaxed and incredibly confident in the summer sunshine.