In the summer of 1982, five buddies traveled to Copco Lake, California on vacation. They took a group photo while sitting on a fence, smugly showing off their pet cockroach in a glass jar. It was the beginning of a long-lasting habit of photography and friendship—going on the same trip with the same people and taking the same photo—which they've kept up for a solid 30 years! See their "bro-mantic" evolution in photos here.
Talk about developing friendships!
In 1982 five friends, all graduates of Santa Barbara High School Class of 1981, took a seemingly insignificant photo that became a longstanding tradition about true freindship. The group vowed to take the same photo every five years… Forever. The photo features, from left to right, John “Wedge” Wardlaw, Mark “Kram” Rumer, Dallas “Sallad” Burney, John “Belvedere, Belvy, Belves” Molony and John “JD” Dickson.
This all happened by chance when Wardlaw went to his family’s Copco Lake cabin in July 1982 with four of his high school buddies. They were chilling at the deck when Dickinson decided to set his 35mm camera on self-timer for a quick snap.
“For some reason, we all chose to have dark and mysterious expressions on our faces,” said Wardlaw. “I’m sure we all thought we were being really cool.”
“Once we took it and saw the photo, we said, ‘We should come back and take it in five years. We have to vow to do it every five years,’” added Wardlaw, now a photographer, filmmaker, and web designer based in Santa Barbara. “We all thought, ‘In 20 years, what if we all don’t know each other?’ By vowing to take a photo every five years, it would be a way to stay in touch.”
Fast forward years, marriages, and divorces later, Mark, Dallas and the three Johns are still at this “bro-mantic” tradition. This year, they celebrated their 30th anniversary and took their 7th photo. On their website, they say:
“Watch us lose hair and gain forehead, gain and lose and gain and lose weight. There are reasons we all decided it was better to take the photo with our shirts on.”
All their photos were shot on 35mm film until they switched to digital in 2007. “It took 30 seconds to take the original,” said Wardlaw. “Now it takes a half hour to take a photo because it has to be perfect.”
The seven pictures to date are framed and hang on the wall of the cabin. The men still listen to the same ‘80s music they were listening to when they were 19 years old. "I’m not in the same place I thought I’d be, but I’m in the right place," said Dickson. “Without this photo, there’s no way we’d be together.”
What a cool group of guys and what a cool project! Have you and friends done something similar? :-) Share your time-capsuled photos in comments below!