Powerfully Evocative Portraits of Four Sisters Photographed Over 30 Years

“You know full well as I do the value of sisters’ affections: there is nothing like it in this world,” Charlotte Brontë once wrote. We’ve examined the special connection between sisters in literature and art before. However, few have illustrated the emotional bond sisters share more poetically than photographer Nicholas Nixon.

The artist started taking snapshots of his wife Bebe and her three sisters (Heather, Mimi, and Laurie), which grew into his series The Brown Sisters — portraits of the siblings taken once a year, for over 30 years. The images document the passing of time, but also the steadfast love each woman shares for the others. The sisters are always captured in the same order, which makes the subtleties of the progression truly striking.

Click through for a selection of images in our gallery. We highly recommend picking up a copy of Nixon’s book, which we learned about from MovieMaker Magazine writer Ryan Stewart and My Modern Met, to enjoy the collection at its most evocative.

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1975

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1976

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1979

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1983

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1987

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1991

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1995

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

1999

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

2003

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

2007

Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon
Photo credit: Nicholas NIxon

2009