Saturday, January 26, 2013

Some photos that made me think

My brother introduced me Nicholas Nixon's series The Brown Sisters this summer. If you've not heard of The Brown Sisters  or Nixon before, I'll give you some quick background information. Nixon is a professional photographer. Many of his subjects are emotionally difficult to photograph: the terminally and seriously ill, people with AIDS, people in nursing homes. I think if you've ever taken – or tried to take – photos of people in these situations, you'll have even more appreciation for his work.

The Brown Sisters is maybe not as painful as some of his work, but it still managed to permanently plant itself in my brain, where I have been unable to shake its impact. The series of photos is four sisters over 36+ years. Nixon takes one photo every year. The sisters are always in the same order. He started in 1975. His wife is the third from the left. My brother, as I understand it, traded some camera repair work for this print from the series:


When I saw the series in a book, I was absolutely fascinated - and I still am!

Looking at these photos was such a great reminder that what makes us interesting (and by 'us' I mean women)  isn't being model thin or photographically beautiful or looking like we just stepped out of a fashion catalog. What's really attractive and interesting about us are our connections with others. Connections with family, connections over time, and even connections with the camera come to mind. I think it takes looking at the series as a whole to really feel the full impact.

I hope you will follow this link and look at all the whole series. It's really powerful.
More recent link here.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very moving, thanks!

Therese said...

Arg. That is an amazing series. I think I am most interested in the change of body language from year to year, how the sisters draw closer or further apart. That, and trying to pick the exact moment a woman changes from "young" to "mature" to "older" to "old." Brilliant brilliant brilliant.

Katie said...

Powerful. Thank you for sharing.

twisterfish said...

Oh my .... amazing.