Nicholas Nixon

(b. 1947)

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(1947– ).

Photographer. His stately, yet intimate glimpses into individual lives suggest psychologically and socially determined readings. Over time, his work has become increasingly contemplative, as he has been drawn ever closer to his immediate circumstances. Born in Detroit, in 1969 Nixon received a BA in English from the University of Michigan and in 1974 an MFA from the University of New Mexico. Selections from an early 1970s series of city views appeared in the landmark 1975 “New Topographics” exhibition. Although he has subsequently concentrated on studies of people, he returns on occasion to considerations of the urban fabric. Nixon often works in series, slowly surveying a single topic for a range of visual and emotional possibilities. The best known of these ruminative sequences portrays his wife and her three sisters, who have posed as a group, arranged in the same order, each year since 1975, tracing their passage into adulthood and on to middle age. In addition to other photographs of his immediate family, he has portrayed young people at three schools (his son's fifth-grade class, Boston Latin School, and the Perkins School for the Blind), the mentally ill, people with AIDS, and the elderly in nursing homes. Nixon normally uses a large-format view camera, which forces him to work slowly, usually in collaboration with his subjects, as he registers the fine detail and delicately nuanced range of tones that suit his compassionate form of documentation. He lives in the Boston area. Nixon has published his work in a number of collections. These include Photographs from One Year (1983), Pictures of People (1988), Family Pictures (1991), People with AIDS (1991), School (1998), and The Brown Sisters (1999).

Subjects: Art.

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