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4 Sisters Take Their Photo Every Year For 36 Years

Back 1975, American photographer Nicholas Nixon once took a photo of his wife Bebe and her three sisters, and they came up with an idea to make it an annual tradition. Since then, the Brown sisters took a photo every year till 2010. To make the series more coherent, the four sisters – Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie – always posed in the same order.

The series resulted as a time lapse of 36 years. The youngest of the sisters, Mimi, was only 15 in the first photograph, and the oldest one – Bebe – was 61 in the last one. Back when Nixon started taking the portraits, the Brown sisters were 15 to 25 years old. Even though the portraits may not be stunning from the artistic point of view, but they do touch your heart. Seeing how seasons, fashion and haircuts change throughout the series, one thing remains the same, and it’s the strong family bond the the four women share.

The series, titled The Brown Sisters, were even exhibited National Gallery of Art and the George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., and two complete sets were sold at the New York’s photography auctions. Nixon himself was at the time a professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art. This time laps even out-does the five friends, who’d take the same photo for 30 years, starting 1982. Well, what are you waiting for – start yours today!

Book: The Brown Sisters (via: 22words)

UPDATE: Unfortunately, photographer’s representative requested to remove the pictures. Luckily, you can find them in the archives of New York’s Museum of Modern artFraenkel Gallery or do a Google search. The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon book is also available on Amazon.

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What do you think?

  • Cathy Koch via Facebook

    these make me feel very sad, my sister abandoned me years ago, wants nothing to do with me, and this is when she found out I had stage IIIC ovarian cancer. I miss her

  • Kathleen Keys via Facebook

    like life moves by too quickly.

  • Antonella Orsini via Facebook

    brilliant idea..

  • Humzee

    A hint of a smile would have been much more powerful than the angry scowls that seem to dominate these pics….must have really hated the photographer or just resented having to do this picture thing year after year….

  • Marlene Morris via Facebook

    like I want to see more of them….

  • Robert Bayam via Facebook

    Like a fine wine that gets better with age.

  • Marlene Morris via Facebook

    I am interested in how the sisters stood for each photo..sometimes one would be very much in front then more to the back and the expression changed enough to wonder why….

  • Andrew Galpin

    Wow, what a fantastic thing to do. Great shots, the unity of the four really shows through the years. We take a photo of my daughter in the same spot on our balcony every year… she is 11 now.

  • Stephanie Scolaro Ogden via Facebook

    These photos are amazing…beautiful…so full of meaning

  • Vanessa Beattie via Facebook

    They make me feel sad at the inevitability of aging… but happy that they were able to take photos every year and not one of them died over that time

  • KellyO

    Why did they stop in 2010? Perhaps I missed the reason…

  • Mohammad Kiki Somantri

    where is 2011, 2012 and 2013?

    • Chris

      Maybe one of the passed. Just a thought.

  • Roya Ferozi via Facebook

    these pictures make me feel that every year it seems like nothings changed ..but when you look back everything has changed….

  • Kate Swanson Cofta via Facebook

    like aging is inevitable but can be done with grace and dignity.

  • Tom Wilks via Facebook

    Thank you, Sisters!! You are all so beautiful!!!

  • Dhanesh Anand via Facebook


  • Beverly Alexander

    I think this was fascinating. I had lots of questions, but mostly wondered what was happening in their lives. I thought that had they pictures all been smiley ones, the only variable would have been their age. With these photos, you see women evolving, and you know you are only seeing them at a moment in time, and who knows what led up to that moment! You see that there are lives behind those photos.

  • Alexander Paulski via Facebook

    mighty real… ;)

  • Anna Lasota via Facebook

    i’m courious if the second one from the left is smoking or drinking or doing something that make her older more in same time..

  • Patti Fielding via Facebook

    Nancy Bezanson, Sally Mann Lauren Pochelon. We could do this easy…be fun!

  • Martha Southgate

    You guys know that these pictures are art, right? Not snapshots that the gang came up with. Nixon is a well-regarded photographer and these pictures are in many major museums. I wish that the copy reflected an intelligent discussion/understanding of the work. And focusing on the expressions is silly.

    • Pink Poui

      History as well as art..

  • Michael Sussman via Facebook


  • Sana Khan

    They are a sad looking bunch of sisters. and as for those who keep saying “you can see their stories on their faces” I disagree. Every person has a story, has a life. Just because they look solemn, people are thinking they got interesting stuff going on in their lives and want to know their life story. I don’t because like I said, every person has a story. Yet, when you are with your sisters you love, at least for me, life’s problems take a backseat and I love to laugh with them

    • Tatu Elias

      they don’t look sad in all the photos. they just look like they have stories to tell. yes everyone has a story to tell, but not every photo conveys a story. these do.

  • Tina Alves via Facebook

    That beauty is real when is natural, that aging can be beautiful and shows the impact of life experiences with sadness or happiness in the beginning or in the later years. this photo journey deserves to be share.

  • Dayna Berg Thompson via Facebook

    My cousins & I take a “normal” photo of us on the couch and a “crazy” photo of us on the couch every Christmas since our cousin Abby was born in 1997!!! It is SO fun to see us all grow! :)

  • Ana María Mendez

    bellisimo trabajo :D

  • JB

    the descent in to decrepitude

  • Heidrun Hartmann via Facebook

    Sehr bewegend…

  • Slpaok Perez

    Beautiful…absolutely beautiful.

  • Debra Bradley

    I think…that these women from the beginning showed more in their expressions than a fake smile “Loved It” wasn’t so much as fierceness or even sad I saw determination, pride, dignity and love for each other yes you could see that maybe one had a hard year but who doesn’t. I wish that I would have done this with my sisters (2) but I didn’t always live in the same state. Beautiful is my final thought…

  • Donald Doherty via Facebook

    like wearing sunblock.

  • Anonymous

    Law #1: Impermanence.

  • Lex Jenkins via Facebook

    Love the photos, but Bored Panda’s callow introductory statement gave me a facepalm headache:

    “Even though the portraits may not be stunning from the artistic point of view, but they do touch your heart.”

    Bored Panda, you have good taste in art. Annnd… I’m gonna stop there.

  • Lex Jenkins via Facebook

    “These pictures make me feel ______ (finish the sentence)”

    …like Bored Panda has no concept of copyrights.

    I understand your enthusiasm and I’m not an absolute purist about copyrights. But you folks really should make more of an effort to get permission before reproducing photos. Personally I think online JPEGs do little or no harm to photographers whose goals are sales of fine art prints or books. But not all photographers agree with this and their representatives will vigorously defend copyrights.

  • Tarryn Clancy via Facebook


  • Judi FitzPatrick via Facebook

    like I’ve seen them at the MFA Boston.

  • Bruce Lyons via Facebook

    they make me feel in the shit again.

  • sadfdd

    ya amına koyim nerden ilerletiyoz şu fotoları açık seçik yapsanız götünüze mi girer orospu çocukları

  • mandi inc.

    Very kewl !!!!!!! ~ xo mandi inc.