A Little Breather and a Look at the Stacks
A few years ago, I saw a series of photographs in a LIFE magazine annual.
A dad had taken a photograph of he and his daughter at the shore. every year till she grew into a woman.
The camera to subject distance was the same. The changes as she grew up and he grew older, were a time lapse series slowed down so you could see these two loving people at each juncture.
The final shot was just the daughter as an adult, and it was one of the most touching moments of the series, as you knew that the father had died and his daughter was completing the series.
Since seeing that set of images, I always look forward to seeing the yearly images of the children and friends in my life, in the holiday cards.
Which brings me to today.
Put you feet up and let’s look at why we are all here. The photograph.
There is nothing like sitting down to peruse some of the new books sitting on the table.
This week we’ll take a look at Nicholas Nixons’, long running series of The Brown Sisters. Just released in it’s most current iteration, this 8×10 view camera, 33 year study of 4 sisters is fascinating.
After the first photograph was made, the sisters and Nicholas, married to one of the sisters, decided to make a photo per year, with the line up always the same.
This series has been on view in various museums, where you can see the entire set on one huge wall.
In the brilliantly laid out, and expertly printed volume, you’ll find yourself flipping back and forth, to watch the changes. The relationships shift, the life tales are evident, and of course the straight physical changes.
Sibling dynamics know no age restriction, with the oldest and the youngest sisters maintaining their countenances, and the middle woman, shifting the gazes to connote life changes.
The passage of time, which photography can uniquely record, is captured here in one volume, with a pristine detail in every image straddling a voyeuristic personal look into a family, and a proud, deliberate, presentation to the world. They knew at a point when this series had gone public. In exhibits and a previous book.
No need to overthink it. You may feel that all you are seeing is the same shot over and over again. Then you would have missed the point. It’s a book filled with love and respect.
As any work of art has life breathed into it based on the viewers personal experience, the door is wide open here.
Come on in.
The Brown Sisters is available from Amazon.
Postscript: the concept of the series I spoke about at the top of the article, came to life in a New Zealand Telecom spot and looked like this: