In August of 1974, the photographer Nicholas Nixon made a group portrait of his wife, Bebe, and her three sisters, Heather, Mimi, and Laurie—the Brown sisters. He did not keep that image, but in 1975 he made another portrait of the four, who then ranged in age between 15 and 25. The women then agreed to assemble for another portrait every year.
In 1999, when the resulting series of photographs reached its twenty-fifth anniversary, The Museum of Modern Art published The Brown Sisters, presenting all of the portraits in sequence. That edition is now out of print. When the family’s “annual rite of passage” turned thirty-three—a third of a century—the Museum published a second edition, including eight new photographs that bring the series up to date.—the publisher