The Brown Sisters

The NYTimes has a great article on the 40 years of portraits Nicholas Nixon took of his wife and her 3 sisters:

Throughout this series, we watch these women age, undergoing life’s most humbling experience. While many of us can, when pressed, name things we are grateful to Time for bestowing upon us, the lines bracketing our mouths and the loosening of our skin are not among them. So while a part of the spirit sinks at the slow appearance of these women’s jowls, another part is lifted: They are not undone by it. We detect more sorrow, perhaps, in the eyes, more weight in the once-fresh brows. But the more we study the images, the more we see that aging does not define these women. Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like.

From 1996-1998 I worked at the Zabriskie Gallery on 57th Street & Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Nicholas Nixon was one of the photographers Virginia Zabriskie represented. I was lucky enough to put on white gloves and thumb through many of the photos mentioned in this article.

Nixon used 8×10-inch film to make 8×10-inch prints, so the details in them were hyper-real. When your film is that big, it doesn’t come in a roll and you can’t fire off a lot of shots (easily). You have to know your shot and have the confidence to shoot it. Nixon is one of those old school photographers who can do it.

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