Nick Nixon

Vision Gallery Of Photography

Those familiar with Nick Nixon’s career know that he has taken leviathan steps toward his subjects. In the mid ’70s, his tripod quavered in the wheezy sky of skyscrapers as he shot out and down at Boston’s landscape. Then he moved to river banks and beaches, and his spaces shrank to areas the size of tennis courts. In his recent portraits he has moved in even closer on his subjects.

Stormy and ambivalent matter lurks in the earlier work. As in the first portrait from the series of the four Brown sisters, recalcitrance, detachment and mistrust threaten to disrupt his pictures. One wonders who is displeased with whom. In many of Nixon’s 1978 portraits, the subjects seem uneasy and begrudging captives of a fastidious ground glass. However engaging, their abrasive qualities puzzle us and sometimes turn us flatly away.

The subjects of Nixon’s 1979–80 portraits are welcoming and friendly, or at

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