Who Are the Brown Sisters?

The Brown sisters are four sisters who Nicholas Nixon has photographed annually since 1975. In 2014, the photographs were part of an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Nixon is married to Bebe, the eldest Brown sister, who was 25 at the time he took the first photograph in the collection. The other sisters are Heather, Laurie and Mimi. In 1975, they were 23, 21 and 15, respectively. Nixon took the first photograph on a whim, but 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 always uses an 8 by 10 inch view camera on a tripod, and the photographs are always in black and white.

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.