In August of 1974, the photographer Nicholas Nixon made a group portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters, Heather, Mimi, and Laurie—the Brown sisters. He did not keep that image, but in 1975 he made another portrait of the four, who then ranged in age between 15 and 25. Working with an 8 x 10-inch view camera, the large negatives conveyed a wealth of detail and a luscious continuity of tone. Nixon was pleased with the result.
The following year, Nixon took another photo of the four sisters. The continuing success of these portraits prompted Nixon to suggest to his subjects that they assemble each year. The women agreed and a legendary series was born.
Nicholas Nixon: 40 Years of the Brown Sisters celebrates the 40th anniversary of the series with luminous reproductions of all 40 portraits and a new afterword by Sarah Hermanson Meister, which examines the series’ public exhibitions, critical reception, and cult following. This edition, which follows books published to celebrate the 25th and 33rd anniversaries, is yet another milestone in an ongoing project that will hopefully continue for years to come.
Video interview courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery.