Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nicholas Nixon, "The Brown Sisters"

These were the photos I was looking for yesterday, when I got distracted by Harry Callahan's "Chicago". I had never before seen that beautiful image of trees on the shore of Lake Michigan. And I had never seen "The Brown Sisters" either, - not until one of my former high school students showed them in class last year. - Thank you, Sofie!

I let my students browse the MoMA Photography Collection on the internet, and their task was to choose one or more pictures to present in class. Sofie gave a very inspired - and inspiring - talk about "The Brown Sisters", - about affection, connection, and differences. And about growing older.

I think these photographs fit well on a day when most people in the USA are getting ready to give thanks. They may inspire thankfullness about having a family, and perhaps feeling close and connected.

The time span that is so evident on these women's faces and bodies, forms a very important part of Nicholas Nixon's project (he has photographed the sisters every year from 1975 to 2008). Their age is accentuated, but the last two photos show that they are not ashamed of growing older. - Why should they be?

- And why do I even bring up this issue?
Well, maybe because I turned 40 a year and a half ago, and I do not like being targeted by all those who want to help me look younger...

I will rather listen to the actress Liv Ullmann who refuses to put on makeup that would hide her great life from showing on her face; I will look again at the portrait of Georgia O'Keeffe that tends to make me a little better able to love my own wrinkles; and I will give thanks to Nicholas Nixon for sharing the beauty of growing older.

No comments: