My recent posts on Lucy Hilmer's work and on long-term projects are obvious clues to what is on my mind recently, photographically speaking. It therefore feels only fitting that I write today about "The Brown Sisters" project by Nicholas Nixon, for which Nixon has taken a photograph of his wife and her three sisters once a year for the past 40 years.
I have been aware of Nixon's entire body of work for a long time now, and have been intrigued by "The Brown Sisters" series, specifically, as it has unfolded over the years. The New York Times recently published an article about this series, which will be published in a book in November.
Seeing Nixon's pictures in the Times article and reading the accompanying text make me consider exactly what it is that I am trying to do in my own long-term projects. More specifically, they bring up a question I ask myself frequently: "How are my own long-term projects different from those of other artists?"
Are they really different? If so, in what way? What distinguishes my work from any of the other long-term portrait or self-portrait projects that are out there? It's critical for me to answer these questions, and I'm glad that I have plenty of time to think about them as I work on gathering and editing the various projects that I've been working on over the years.
Do I have answers to these questions at this time? No. Will I ever answer them? Maybe. But forcing myself to at least address them is a healthy and necessary part of my creative process.