Fashion & Beauty

Today’s Talk Topic: Turning Into an Older Woman

nicholas-nixon-40-years-of-the-brown-sisters-15In a series of photographic portraits soon to be viewable in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, we watch four lithe and beautiful sisters age, year by year, for 40 years. These are the Brown sisters, Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie; they pose each year in the same order, but in different stances (betraying their feelings in that moment, no doubt), and Time slowly lays its hand upon them. Susan Minot is startlingly honest about that hand in the New York Times article that reproduces Nicholas Nixon’s compelling photographs:

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.

The portraits reveal the deepening of the sisters’ relationship as they age, Minot believes. Read more about how these “glamour-neutral” sisters prepared for the shots (or rather, didn’t), why Nicolas Nixon finds sibling relationships so intriguing, and how he “pulled off a paradox: the creation of photographs in which privacy is also the subject.”

Nixon’s exhibition, which has been viewed worldwide, will be at the Museum of Modern Art in the coming months (no confirmed date yet),  coinciding with the museum’s upcoming publication of the book The Brown Sisters: Forty Years.



Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.