See These Sisters Age Gracefully Through 40 Years of Annual Portraits

Anyone who has attempted to take a family picture knows how hard it can be to keep up the tradition, especially as the subjects start to age. Nonetheless, there is one special case of family portraiture that is absolutely aspirational. These four sisters have had their picture taken EVERY SINGLE YEAR for forty years, and they have the stunning images to prove it.

When budding photographer Nicholas Nixon was just 28-years-old, he took a trip to visit his wife’s family in New Canaan, Connecticut. He found himself surrounded by four beautiful sisters—one of them being his wife—so he decided to take a black and white picture of them standing against a backdrop of lush forest.

Brown sisters pose for photo in 1975Nicholas Nixon I Fraenkel Gallery
That was back in 1975, and until 2015, Nixon had made a point to snap a picture of all four sisters together on an annual basis. Once the project was finished, the acclaimed photographer landed an exhibition featuring his 40 photos at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

What makes the project so interesting is the fact that every shot feels as if it is anything but posed or contrived. Each of the four sisters looks strong, smart, and assertive, a departure from most others’ “cheesy” family pictures.

In the MOMA exhibit, there was no personal information divulged about the Brown sisters—Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie—all we have to go off of is what the camera saw at the time of each individual photo. What is apparent, though, is that the sisters are close. As they age, it’s hard to ignore one’s own special familial bonds.

In an interview with the New York Times, Nixon explained that he first became fascinated by his wife and sister-in-laws’ relationships because he had grown up as an only child. He wanted to find a way to capture their bonds as they evolved through womanhood together.

To say that his direction is effective is not giving the visionary photographer enough credit! The forty photos have had such a huge effect on people since the exhibition first started traveling that viewers have reportedly openly wept in front of the haunting images.

Whether you’re captivated by the family bond, the ritual, or even the sense of mortality that seems to spring up from the set of beautiful images, it’s hard to deny that the shots are absolutely spellbinding.

Brown sisters pose for photoNicholas Nixon I Fraenkel Gallery
When asked about some of the latest photos, Nixon said what all the viewers have thought: “Everyone won’t be here forever.” It may be a bit of a morbid sentiment, but it’s a hard truth to ignore, especially as we watch the sisters start advancing in their years.

You really have to see this photo project to believe it! To take a look at all forty of these touching photos, follow Shareably’s link here. Each individual picture really seems to tell its own story.

What do you think of this unique photography project? Which of the forty photos is your favorite? Do you have a long, ongoing family tradition that you would like to share? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!