4 Sisters Took The Same Picture For 40 Years


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This tradition all started in the summer of 1975. Nicholas Nixon was visiting his wife´s family when he got the idea to take a snap of all four sisters together. The sisters, from left to right, Heather, Mimi, BeBe, and Laurie, took up on his offer and have lined up in the same order for him every year since then. The man must be applauded for documenting the lives of the sisters.  Taken in 1975, this picture really started the tradition going. The sisters look young and a wee-bit displeased to take the picture.

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Taken in Hartford, the sisters are finely dressed and look beautiful, to say the least. They seem to have ditched the boy-clothes to don more feminine apparel and the results are fantastic! The sister on the right, Laurie, would do herself a big favor if she grew her hair.

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This picture was snapped in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The sisters look comfortable in their jeans, but have yet to flash a smile for the camera. Why are they always snapped in a gloomy mood? Mimi can be seen wearing a turtleneck; she would definitely look out of place if she wore them now.

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Here´s a photo of the sisters taken in Harwich Port, Massachusetts in 1978. The photographer, Nixon, has barely said anything about the stories behind the frames. He once said, ¨The world is infinitely more interesting than any of my opinions about it.¨ It´s about time he spilled the beans already. We want to know why they aren´t smiling!

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If reports are to believed, this picture was taken in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The girls look mature now as they enter adulthood. Another year passes by; we are treated to a picture with no smiles again. The sisters can be seen looking directly at the camera, as if to make contact, even if their gazes are guarded or restrained.

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This picture was ostensibly taken in East Greenwich, R.I. The sisters seem to genuinely love each other´s company. How many people in the world can boast of loving their siblings like that? Not too many, we assume. And, can they stop staring at the camera already? It looks as if they are staring deep into our souls with their piercing eyes.

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The sisters look more similar than ever. We can easily notice their resemblance to one another in this picture. Taken in Cincinnati in 1981, the sisters seem to be enjoying a fine outing, basking in the hot sun. That´s probably why they are wearing light clothes. It was a warm summer day in Cincinnati, yet none of the sisters has a real smile for some reason.

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Snapped in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the sisters have moved on to colder pastures. Here, they can be seen keeping themselves warm in their jackets and sweaters. The photographer, Nixon, showed his work for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art on July 22, 1976, only two years into the project.

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This picture of the sisters was ostensibly taken in Allston, Massachusetts in 1983. They are back to warmer pastures and for some reason, have decided to make the photo shoot an all-white top affair. There is a hint of smiles on their faces, but the smiles aren´t strong enough to suggest that they are having the time of their lives.

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If reports from reliable sources are to be believed, this picture was taken in Truro, Massachusetts in 1984. The sisters can now easily pass off as mothers. So, were they mothers when this picture was taken? Damn you, Nixon! We are certain a special place in hell is reserved for your annoying ass.

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Another year passes by and Nixon takes a picture of the sisters yet again. This photo was reportedly clicked in Allston, Massachusetts. Here´s an interesting fact for you! The ¨Nicholas Nixon: Forty Years of The Brown Sisters, ¨series was on view at the Museum of Modern Art until January 4, 2015.

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This picture was allegedly taken in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1986. The sisters are yet again glaring at the camera without a hint of a smile. How could they maintain such a straight face pose for so long? Someone should seriously make a video to explain the smirks and embraces behind these pictures.

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The sisters now look visibly older than before. This is the 13th year of their tradition and they have done well to keep the ritual going. Yet again, they look like they are upset and ready for a fight. This picture was taken in Chatham, Massachusetts in the year, 1987.

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The picture of the sisters was taken in the year 1988 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. For the first time, the sisters have finally flashed a smile. However, we will have to let our imaginations run wild as we will never know why they decided to smile on that particular day.

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This picture was taken in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The sisters look to have hit 30. However, they haven´t forgotten to stare at the camera. Heather, the sister at the extreme left, also seem to be the one embracing her sisters the most. It appears as though she is the youngest amongst the sisters.

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We can now see the faces of the sisters change. Thanks to Nixon, we can only imagine the bonds connecting Bebe, Heather, Laurie and Mimi strengthening and weakening, ebbing and flowing. We can never really know the reason behind the sisters´ smiles and smirks. This picture was taken in 1990 at Woodstock, Vt.

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Snapped in 1991 in Watertown, Massachusetts, everything seems well and good between the sisters. They seem to be enjoying the same camaraderie as they did before. However, they do look visibly older than before. Aging is simply a phenomenon we have to embrace with open arms. Beauty is only temporary.

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Reliable reports state that this picture was taken in Concord, Massachusetts in the year, 1992. It is wonderful seeing the sisters together again despite the struggles and misunderstandings they might have had over the years. Blood is thicker than water and it is of paramount importance to stay on good terms with one´s family members.

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Did anything noteworthy happen in 1993? Well, Nixon yet again took a picture of the sisters. The movie, Unforgiven, directed by Clint Eastwood was awarded the Oscar for best film of the year. The year also saw the birth of current pop stars, Ariana Grande, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and Meghan Trainor.

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The sisters took a close up picture of themselves in the year, 1994. This particular picture was taken in Grantham, N.H. If we had a time travelling machine, we would go back to the year, 1994, and tell Justin Bieber´s father to wear protection when bumping uglies because it was the year that Justin was conceived.

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Did someone get pregnant? Did someone finally get hitched? Finally, the sisters are seen embracing one another. It must have been a good and memorable day for them. They seem to be in a good mood while posing for the camera. This picture was taken in the year, 1995, Marblehead, Massachusetts.

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This picture was snapped in Lexington, Massachusetts. Although it looks like a fairly sunny day, the sisters can be seen draped in warm clothes. This picture must have been taken in the winter. We must give credit to the sisters for continuing their tradition. We are sure they were busy with responsibilities and work, but to take the time out for one´s siblings, that´s commendable and heartwarming.

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The year, 1997, saw the release of the massively successful movie, Titanic, which catapulted Leonardo DiCaprio into superstardom. The sisters also got together to perform their yearly ritual—pose in front of the camera held by Nixon. According to reports, this picture was taken in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts in 1997.

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The sisters were back at it again. However, they did change their venue from the previous year while taking this snap. This photo was captured by Nixon in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Aging is a natural phenomenon and we shouldn´t be surprised to witness the sisters look a lot older than before.

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The year, 1999, saw Eminem enter the fray of the music industry, using his strong abusive lyrical content to a lot of success. The sisters also got together to take their yearly snap. The eldest sister seems to have aged quite a lot. The wrinkles on her skin are very visible. However, the sisters´ bond remains strong.

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People feared for the end of the world because of the Y2K bug in the year, 2000. Now that we look back at things, it looks like we were at our wits end when we let that insignificant event ruin our daily lives. Perhaps, the Y2K bug explains why the sisters are strongly embracing one another?

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The year, 2001, was truly a devastating year for the United States of America. The terrorist group, Al- Qaeda, attacked the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City, killing 2,996 people and causing at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage. However the unfortunate event didn´t deter the sisters from partaking in their annual ritual.

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This picture was taken in 2002 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Years of living seems to have taken their toll on the sisters. They are now all wrinkly and old. While a couple of them have lost weight, the other two sisters seem to have piled on the pounds. Nonetheless, they remain a close and tight-knit group.

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Another year passes by and the sisters yet again come together to pose for their yearly snap. The look in their eyes tells a thousand tales. If only we knew what they went through over the years. If they penned a book describing their actual emotions while taking these pictures, we would actually purchase the book.

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Let us contradict ourselves here. Like the sisters, we, too, have matured. Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. What if the sisters never had any fascinating stories to tell in the first place? We would not be able to handle the disappoint now that we are so invested in the pictures already.

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It´s 2005 already, but why is this picture still in black-and-white? Frankly speaking, we could really do with a little bit of color in our lives. Call us ignorant and uncultured, but it is about time we saw a photo in color. This snap was taken in Cataumet, Massachusetts. The sisters also took a picture at the same place, the year before.

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The sisters strike yet another pose for the camera. And, it appears as though they couldn´t be arsed about their hairstyles anymore. The unkempt, wild hair of Bebe is really annoying us. This picture was taken in 2006 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. They have been to this place before.

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The year, 2007, saw the footballer, Kaka, winning both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon D´Or awards. That would be the last time the awards would be scooped up by players who were not Lionel Messi and Ronaldo. The sisters now look much older. They were all probably grandmothers by now.

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2008 was a historic day for people all over the world. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama became the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. The sisters also didn´t fail to take their annual picture together. This particular photo was clicked in Dallas. Did they move there or were they on a vacation?

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We should have told you by now; Bebe is actually Nixon´s wife. And, it appears as though they had a successful marriage. In a world where the divorce rates are going through the roof, couples like them serve as an inspiration to the rest of us. It is possible to make things work despite the struggles, disagreements and misunderstandings.

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The series, by now, has probably been seen all over the world. Nixon has worked on the series throughout his career. The entire ritual started when, on a whim, he asked the four sisters if he could take their picture. The man was visiting his wife´s family then. After he saw the image, he asked them if they might do it every year. He has stated that, ¨They seemed O.K. with it.¨ Little did everyone involved predict that it would go on for so long.

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It´s the year 2011 now and we still have to make-do with a black-and-white picture of the sisters. Can someone actually visit them and take a snap of them with a device that supports photos in color? This picture was ostensibly taken in Truro, Massachusetts in 2011.

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2 Comments

  • What a beautiful series of photos: lighting, shade, what sometimes does or does not make it into the background and that they are all still alive after 40 years! touching…I only wish the commentary was a little less vapid and more relevant to the medium and it’s composition / like music it is completely possible to write about art.