Nicholas Nixon

Black-and-white close up photograph of an eye
Self, Brookline, 2015
pigment print, 17 x 21 inches (sheet) [53.3 x 43.18 cm]

Nicholas Nixon is known for the ease and intimacy of his black and white large format photographs. Nixon has photographed porch life in the rural south, schools in and around Boston, cityscapes, sick and dying people, and the intimacy of couples. Recording his subjects close and with meticulous detail, he facilitates an emotional connection between the viewer and the subject.

Black-and-white photograph of an old man pushing his fingers into his temples.
F.K., Boston, 1984
gelatin silver contact print, 8 x 10 inches (sheet) [20.3 x 25.4 cm]


In 1975, he began an ongoing series, The Brown Sisters, an annual portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters unchangingly posed in the same order. This seminal project has been the subject of multiple publications and exhibitions.

Black-and-white photographic portrait of four young women standing side-by-side outside
The Brown Sisters, New Canaan, Connecticut, 1975
gelatin silver contact print, 8 x 10 inches (sheet) [20.3 x 25.4 cm]
Black-and-white photograph of four women standing close, all looking at the camera.
The Brown Sisters, Wellfleet, Massachusetts, 2015
gelatin silver contact print, 8 x 10 inches (sheet) [20.3 x 25.4 cm]

In Summer 2013, Nixon’s book Close Far was released by Steidl. The body of work explores the self in physical and psychological proximity to the urban landscape. On the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s The Brown Sisters series, in 2014, the complete sequence of images was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and re-published in an anniversary catalogue. In 2017, Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid opened a comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, accompanied by a catalogue illustrating over 200 images, and the ICA Boston mounted a chronological retrospective exhibition.

Black-and-white photograph of a city skyline centered on the Empire State Building looking downtown
South View from 48th Street, N.Y.C., 1975
gelatin-silver contact print, 8 x 10 inches (sheet) [20.3 x 25.4 cm]

Nixon has been awarded three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and two Guggenheim Fellowships. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among many others.

Black-and-white photograph of two children standing on either side of a screen door
Allentown, Pennsylvania, 1982
gelatin-silver contact print, 8 x 10 inches (sheet) [20.3 x 25.4 cm]
Black-and-white photograph of a ginko tree
Arnold Arboretum, Boston, 2021
gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 inches (sheet) [25.4 x 20.3 cm]