Taking The Same Photo For 30 Years Pays Off With Internet Fame For Five California Friends

Want to be internet famous? The first thing you have to do is travel back to 1982. Then gather up five friends at Copco Lake and take a picture. Make sure that you remember your pose because you’re going to have to recreate the same photo for the next 30 years.

John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, and John Molony became internet sensations this week when their photography tradition went viral.

The first photograph in the series was taken while the five friends were in high school in July 1982.

Wardlaw said: “Priorities were so different back then. All I was really thinking about was summer and girls.”

The five teenagers decided to take a group photo. Three of them are shirtless and one, Molony, is holding a Folgers Instant Coffee Jar.

The five friends kept in touch through college and always returned to Copco lake in the summer for a vacation. In 1987, Wardlaw suggested that they recreate the photo they took five years ago.

Wardlaw said:

“I think I had a feeling this might become some cool tradition, but I had no idea we would still be doing it for 30 years.”

But it did. Wardlaw and his four buddies have been taking the same photo every five years for the last 30 years. And they have no intention of stopping. They even started a website dedicated their photography tradition.

Dickson writes on the website:

“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 … We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what. Up until there’s one guy just sitting in the same pose! Even then, maybe someone will take a picture of an empty bench for us.”

Here’s a look at all 7 photos from the series.

1982 – Original

same photo for 30 years


same photo for 30 years


same photo for 30 years


same photo for 30 years


same photo for 30 years


same photo for 30 years


same photo for 30 years

Do you like the idea of taking the same photo for 30 years?

The five friends said that, in addition to their internet fame, the photo has also gone a long way to making sure that they all stay in touch.

Dickson said: “Without this photo, there’s no way we’d be together.”