The Brown Sisters project: Time has no mercy

We present to you a project that has taken quite a prominent place in the history of photography. In 1975 Nicholas Nixon started photographing his wife Bebe and her three sisters every year, once a year. Always in the same order; Heather, Mimi, Bebe, Laurie.

This magnificent project clearly illustrates that the true work of art is not comprised primarily of techniques and skills, but the original idea. Besides the photographs themselves being quite interesting, it’s really exeptional to see the history and change of these women.

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The Brown Sisters in 1975

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The Brown Sisters in 1976

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The Brown Sisters in 1977

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The Brown Sisters in 1978

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The Brown Sisters in 1979

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The Brown Sisters in 1980

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The Brown Sisters in 1981

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The Brown Sisters in 1982

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The Brown Sisters in 1983

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The Brown Sisters in 1984

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The Brown Sisters in 1985

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The Brown Sisters in 1986

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The Brown Sisters in 1987

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The Brown Sisters in 1988

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The Brown Sisters in 1989

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The Brown Sisters in 1990

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The Brown Sisters in 1991

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The Brown Sisters in 1992

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The Brown Sisters in 1993

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The Brown Sisters in 1994

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The Brown Sisters in 1995

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The Brown Sisters in 1996

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The Brown Sisters in 1997

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The Brown Sisters in 1998

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The Brown Sisters in 1999

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The Brown Sisters in 2000

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The Brown Sisters in 2001

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The Brown Sisters in 2002

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The Brown Sisters in 2003

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The Brown Sisters in 2004

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The Brown Sisters in 2005

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The Brown Sisters in 2006

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The Brown Sisters in 2007

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The Brown Sisters in 2008

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The Brown Sisters in 2010

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Nicholas Nixon with his wife, Bebe.


Information and image sources: 1 2 3

9 Responses to “The Brown Sisters project: Time has no mercy”

  1. C. Monet says:

    “This magnificent project clearly illustrates that the true work of art is not comprised primarily of techniques and skills, but the original idea.”

    Sorry, but that is nonsense. “Original Idea” without masterful execution is as worthless as masterful execution without “Original Idea”.

    The world littered with poorly executed works wherein the idea is primary, and skill, execution, communicativeness, are ignored.

    Further, the process in this photo set is hardly original – it is simply a variation of the old parental standard of marking a child’s height on the wall every year, and many photographers have tracked the same model, photo by photo, over an extended period of time.

    • BP says:

      @C. Monet
      In time you surely will show us better and maybe more impressive examples that tell such an even impressive history without words? I’am anxious to see some.

  2. John L. says:

    @C. Monet – Geez, why couldn’t you just accept that it’s a neat project? Your post reminds me of the saying, modern art = “I could’ve done that” + “yeah, but you didn’t”

  3. Le japonnais says:

    Trop bonne

    • http://www.123aanmelden.nl/indox.asp?p=13 says:

      But it is really also a sobering reminder that even feelgood courses like Kickstarter include critical perils, even beyond straightup frauds such as this just one. Previous year, a CNNMoney investigation found that 84 per cent of Kickstarter tasks you should not ship by the due date. In other conditions, goods have unsuccessful to materialize immediately following creators promised more than they may supply.
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  4. Luiz R, Silva says:

    Deus Abençoe, não contive as lágrimas, achei lindo tudo isso,

  5. Alan S. says:

    Great project! Discovered it in a book published by the editors of Life. I can relate to the project since I am in the Boomer age group like the subjects and have watched the changes in me and my family with a similar project of a yearly Christmas photo in which my children grow up and I grow older.

  6. pedromari says:

    Es triste ver como se pasa la vida y cómo se nos va la juventud.
    Esta serie de fotos tiene una gran belleza pero tambien me producen tristeza. Un gran trabajo fotografico

  7. Marilyn Cook says:

    Wow! It is a beautiful project. I love those photos – so simple and uncontrived and honest. The title of “time has no mercy” is unfortunate and misleading. Time seems to have been extremely merciful to these beautiful sisters. I love that the photos are in black and white, lending to their simplicity and focusing on the faces. How wonderful that you were able to get the four sisters together every year for their photograph no matter what. I love that the settings are different, that the love among the women is evident by small gestures, that there is no attempt to adorn the subjects with makeup or fancy clothes. Bravo!

  8. […] fiftheen years ago, photographerNicholas Nixon exhibited his photo collection ‘The Brown Sisters 1975-2009′. Nixon started photographing his wife and her three sisters every year, once a year. […]

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