Previous news story    Next news story

Five Friends Take Same Picture for 30 Years

By dpreview staff on Jul 26, 2012 at 17:33 GMT

Every five years since 1982, high school friends John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney and John Molony have taken the same photograph of themselves, in the same place - Copco Lake in California. The original photograph was taken on a holiday the group took when they were teenagers at Wardlaw's family cabin, and every five years since, they have returned to the same spot and meticulously recreated the original pose.

The original 1982 picture of John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney and John Molony - 'a seemingly insignificant photo that became a longstanding tradition about true friendship' (photo: John Dickson)

Thirty years after the original photograph was taken, the individuals in the group are spread out all over the US, and one of them, John Wardlaw, whose family still owns the Copco Lake cabin, has persued film and photography as a career. But every five years they reconvene and take the same photograph

According to Dickson, '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.'

Do you have any photographic traditions with friends or family? Let us know in the comments.

From CNN.com

Comments

Total comments: 108
ijustloveshooting
By ijustloveshooting (Aug 8, 2012)

guy on the rightest side (John Dickson) put on weight on each photo, on the last one lost some :D

It's sad to see that, in 20 years, they are changed too much, that shows how short human life is ... we all have to live it as best as we can...life is shorter than we think..

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 18, 2012)

JD lost 50 lbs actually. He did a great job.

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

If anyone is honestly interested in the cameras and film in this five year photo, then here it is. The lenses were either 24 or 28mm in the film shots.

1982 - Pentax 35mm, don't remember the model, 400 ISO Kodak and it sat in the camera for a long time before being developed.
1987 - Canon AE1-Program, 100 ISO Kodak
1992 - Nikon FM2 -100 ISO Kodak
1997 - Nikon FM2 (and some crappy Kodak film that looks really bad)
2002 - Nikon FM2 and again pretty sure it was Kodak 100
2007 - Nikon D70
2012 - Nikon D800 - The shot does look bad. But it was Noon and we used no fill light of any kind and I think the one we picked was a bit under exposed. Sadly it was the first shot I had taken with the camera and wasn't quite up to speed with all the changes. Next time we are using flash fill.

At some point I'll look at all the negs and get the exact film used and the specifics form the Digital cameras.

Wedge (guy on the left).
http://www.facebook.com/fiveyearphoto
http://www.copcolake.com/five

1 upvote
RDMPhotos
By RDMPhotos (Sep 5, 2012)

Fabtastic..
I wish my HS friends still kept in touch like that

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Jul 31, 2012)

I enjoyed reading about their story very much .. it's uplifiting! Very compelling to study the details. Thanks!

1 upvote
mishuk
By mishuk (Jul 31, 2012)

WOW

1 upvote
Nigel Bolton
By Nigel Bolton (Jul 31, 2012)

Is it me or are 2002 and 2007 the wrong way round? It wsa shown that way on the news reel, but I suspect TV error and he just didn't want to tell them on air.

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

They are in the correct order, we just lived a bit better during that time. Right food, good diet, lots of exercise.

0 upvotes
Ubilam
By Ubilam (Jul 31, 2012)

Remarkable. 30 years? Lucky that they are all still alive and friends. I wish I aged as well as any one of them!

2 upvotes
cleverinstigator
By cleverinstigator (Jul 30, 2012)

The guy in the middle wore the same gross shorts for 15 years

0 upvotes
abepak
By abepak (Jul 29, 2012)

lol. The last 5 years have been pretty hard on them.

1 upvote
Jorginho
By Jorginho (Jul 28, 2012)

Must have been a predecessor of m43s. The DR is very poor, colour depth not close a DSLR APS-c. What were they thinking!

1 upvote
smallcams
By smallcams (Jul 28, 2012)

If this interests you then you'll love Jamie Livingston's "Picture of the Day."

http://photooftheday.hughcrawford.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Livingston
Between March 31, 1979 and October 25, 1997, the day of his death, he took a single picture nearly every day with a Polaroid SX-70 camera.[1][2]
Livingston's 'Polaroid a Day' photographic diary started at Bard College and though some photos have gone missing from the collection, 6,697 Polaroids remain. The collection, dated in sequence, has been organized by his friends Hugh Crawford and Betsy Reid into an exhibit at the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College called "Photo of the Day", which opened in 2007.[3] By the next year, the pictures were hosted online and became a popular discovery of several online blogs.[4]

0 upvotes
RoelHendrickx
By RoelHendrickx (Jul 28, 2012)

I have taken a photo of my two children every year on September 1st since a couple of years. No better way to make you realize how fast they grow.

0 upvotes
thincrust88
By thincrust88 (Jul 28, 2012)

Hoepfully, in 2017, we'd see at least 1 child sitting on his father's lap. :-)

2 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

Oddly enough none of us have kids yet, though one just got married this summer. Plans a family

1 upvote
morey000
By morey000 (Jul 27, 2012)

Interesting. None of them have had children. not one.

1 upvote
jvideographer
By jvideographer (Jul 28, 2012)

Thank goodness. Someone has to be reasonable.

4 upvotes
Adam L Productions
By Adam L Productions (Jul 29, 2012)

Seriously. Not everyone has to have a kid. It seems ingrained in people's minds that all human must have children. Some of us don't want any, thanks.

That being said, it's photos of themselves.They're preserving their poses, which does not include any children from the very beginning. It's entirely possible they have kids, unless you did something stalkerish and began scouring the web for more info than the pictures or articles provided.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
maccam
By maccam (Aug 1, 2012)

Interesting. How can you tell?

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

true, so far

0 upvotes
digilux
By digilux (Jul 27, 2012)

Wouldn't it have been great to have done this every year? Now there's only 6 pics, and while I'm writing this the first pic hasn't loaded yet.......sad.

0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 27, 2012)

It reminds me an interesting episode of The Twilight Zone: "Devil's Alphabet" (cf: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Alphabet_%28The_Twilight_Zone%29 ). Hope they have prepared some "exiting clause" in their contract...

0 upvotes
JimboDimbo
By JimboDimbo (Jul 27, 2012)

And they meet up with the same cockroach? Amazing!
It's good to see that they are enjoying themselves just as much now as they did back in '82.

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 27, 2012)

And they surely still listen the same music as nowadays ones are not so good. It's what's happening to me recently more than ever, and I'm even coming to love hits and styles I didn't formerly. It's to say the music industry is in a deep deep crisis (it's not without reason that Prince left it).
My most recent (re)discover: Baby Beach by Tony Burrows (cf: http://youtu.be/4LhsU1R1tIY ). A real hit for a real summer... 1974.

1 upvote
Mattoid
By Mattoid (Jul 27, 2012)

That last 5 years was a killer.

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 27, 2012)

Right ! It seems getting older is like a slow function: it begins slowly, even next to static before 30. Then it gets faster but it's OK as 40 is the age of 007... and suddenly, the big slip, it goes fast and furious. For the next picture, I expect that buddies to have lost their hairs...

0 upvotes
morey000
By morey000 (Jul 27, 2012)

lack of exercise.

1 upvote
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

I swear we look better in person than in that darn photo.

1 upvote
TheGuyOnTheRight
By TheGuyOnTheRight (Aug 8, 2012)

We have aged of course but the harsh lighting in the 2012 photo is deceiving. If we had used a fill flash or if it was a cloudy day we would look a lot more like 2007. If we had known these pictures from our personal photo albums would go viral around the world we probably would have made the effort to have better lighting. Expect a big comeback in 2017 !!!

1 upvote
Starkiller
By Starkiller (Jul 27, 2012)

The last time a website felt so slow, was when people used acoustic couplers.

0 upvotes
John 3
By John 3 (Jul 27, 2012)

It's horrible what happens to people when they allow themselves to go to seed.

0 upvotes
imadesigner
By imadesigner (Jul 27, 2012)

I've been doing something similar http://www.tomrobinsonphotography.com/feet-first/

3 upvotes
EricDP
By EricDP (Jul 28, 2012)

I like this better than the five friends...

1 upvote
laquila65
By laquila65 (Aug 2, 2012)

Wow! I agree, much better than the five guys. Brilliant.

0 upvotes
Elpasito
By Elpasito (Jul 27, 2012)

How about this one ?

http://www.zonezero.com/zz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1292%3Athe-arrow-of-time&catid=8%3Aessays&lang=en

2 upvotes
infosky
By infosky (Jul 27, 2012)

This is absolutely wonderful and amazing. I can sense the love and the bonding of your family.

Thanks for sharing.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jul 27, 2012)

Remarkable feat!

Waited patiently for 30 years for the wine to age and popped the cork.

It wouldn't have been the same impact had it been prematurely released 25, 20 or 15 years.

Hope it continues.

.

2 upvotes
michaelrz
By michaelrz (Jul 27, 2012)

Reminds me of the "7 up" series documentary, where filmmaker Michael Apted followed (and still does) a group of people since they were 7 years old, back in 1964. He has filmed them repeatedly every 7 years.
The last episode, "56 up" (!) premiered a couple of months ago.
The result is astonishing, a must see documentary.

5 upvotes
bartex
By bartex (Jul 27, 2012)

Awesome photos! Awesome pack!

1 upvote
Chris_in_Osaka
By Chris_in_Osaka (Jul 27, 2012)

I find it amazing that these guys had the foresight to do this, considering that in 1982 the looked stuck in the 70's, in 1992 they looked stuck in the 80's....but all that doesn't matter now in 2012 because with age comes the privilege of being timelessly out of style :-)

9 upvotes
Samir Kharusi
By Samir Kharusi (Jul 27, 2012)

Ah well, our family has only 12 years, but still a work in progress:
<http://www.pbase.com/samirkharusi/image/117548815/original.jpg>

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jul 27, 2012)

What a great story. I cannot even find some high school buddies yet they stay friends after 30 years.

6 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 27, 2012)

Right ! That's the real miracle of this story.

1 upvote
SeaPower
By SeaPower (Jul 27, 2012)

I think I will wait till I see the RAW before I pass judgment, but I see some noise in the shadows.

19 upvotes
gooseta
By gooseta (Jul 27, 2012)

It's not about the image quality, it's about friendship :3

1 upvote
Parappaman
By Parappaman (Jul 27, 2012)

@gooseta: humour detection FAIL

11 upvotes
Glen Barrington
By Glen Barrington (Jul 27, 2012)

This is why you still need viewfinders in cameras. our sense of humor is directly linked to our ability to look through a tiny tunnel at a scene.

1 upvote
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 27, 2012)

Explanation needed: the noise in the shadow is the pint drinking one. Don't forget this guys are real Him-Men after all !

As for the barrel distorsion, blame it on the barrel of ice-cold beer, of course.

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

If you really want to see the raw images I do have the. D70 for 2007 and d800 for 2012. But I was not impressed with the shadow detail in the D800 shot.

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Jul 27, 2012)

Fantastic idea. Really love the series of photos!

1 upvote
Solar Eagle
By Solar Eagle (Jul 27, 2012)

If you go to the CNN link above the questions posted here about what's in the jar and why they are not smiling are answered. I guess nobody tried that given all the comments about how slow their site is. lol I'm amazed at the 2012 image. I didn't know you go from looking fairly young to OLD in such a small window of time. lol

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

The image quality is higher on one of our sites which might cause slow loading, but I'm surprised to hear problems about our sight being slow here as It loads super fast for me wherever I am.
of course if you are on DSL it will be slow.

1 upvote
calmwaters
By calmwaters (Jul 27, 2012)

I thought that the story headline was very misleading. I expected there to be a picture from every year since '82. 7 pictures is cute but I don't think it compares to the headline in the least.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 27, 2012)

'Friends take same picture every five years since 1982' is a bit long for a dpr headline.

3 upvotes
Paul van den Berg
By Paul van den Berg (Jul 27, 2012)

Do not always trust calm waters, there might be some acid in it :-)

1 upvote
mick232
By mick232 (Jul 26, 2012)

That guy forgot to put on his sun glasses in the year 2002. Now the whole series is ruined... ;-)

2 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Jul 27, 2012)

That's true ! The devil is in the details... ;-) ;-) ;-)

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

Yeah, we were bummed. I fix that one in photoshop for our own purposes. But I released them "unchanged" for the article.

0 upvotes
Charles Laigo
By Charles Laigo (Jul 26, 2012)

I wished they'd also mentioned what cameras were used over those 30 years. :-)

1 upvote
J R R S
By J R R S (Jul 30, 2012)

who cares? it makes no diffrence...

1 upvote
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

See my post I made today, I mention all the cameras. The post in this stream, not my web site.

0 upvotes
Carsten Pauer 2
By Carsten Pauer 2 (Jul 26, 2012)

Very slow Side.

Oh and nice to see the Chemtrail in the 1982 Photo...

2 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (Jul 27, 2012)

I imagine you mean 'contrails'?

0 upvotes
Carsten Pauer 2
By Carsten Pauer 2 (Jul 27, 2012)

No i mean really Chemtrails.

You can see this Sh** every Day on the Sky here.
Believe it or not, it is Your own Decision.

I have make tons of Photos from this:

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/_DSF5417_1k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/_DSF5418_1k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF1955k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF1931k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF1932k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF1942k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF4181k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF4468k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF4261k.jpg

http://cpx.dyndns.org/Bilder/DPReview/Chemtrails/DSCF4503k.jpg

0 upvotes
gooseta
By gooseta (Jul 27, 2012)

mate they are made of chemicals but called contrails.

0 upvotes
JadedGamer
By JadedGamer (Jul 27, 2012)

What, people still call plane exhaust "chemtrail"? Whatever for? The term was made by a paranoid lunatic that was ignorant of what plane exhaust is, but I thought people were more educated these days... Guess I was wrong.

3 upvotes
oscarvdvelde
By oscarvdvelde (Jul 27, 2012)

Carsten, aren't you releasing "chemtrails" yourself on a cold winter day?

In case you didn't realize this: airplanes burn fuel, this produces a hot stream of water vapor (gaseous phase of water), CO2 and pollutants. The stream cools rapidly and the vapor turns into droplets or ice crystals. If the air at that altitude is dry, further mixing will evaporate them again and the trails will be short.

The pollutants of oil combustion may kill you eventually. But they are also released by your fellow citizens with devices named "cars".

If you are still afraid, then fight for renewable energy sources and stop believing nonsense you read on the web.

2 upvotes
Carsten Pauer 2
By Carsten Pauer 2 (Jul 27, 2012)

>Carsten, aren't you releasing "chemtrails" yourself on a cold winter day?

No, but Water Vapor from My Legs when i get in a cold Car.

>If the air at that altitude is dry, further mixing will evaporate them again and the trails will be short.

Yes, but my Photographed "Chemtrails" are very long and after some Time the Sky is complete "Greyed" out with Fake Clouds from the Airplane.

Yes "Nonsense" LoL, i wish this would absolute TRUE, REALLY !
So Never mind...

Regards: Carsten

0 upvotes
J R R S
By J R R S (Jul 30, 2012)

Don't worry the sky wont fall on your head!

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

4 seconds to load copcolake.com/five
6 seconds to laod the fiveyearphotos.com page
Considering how many photos, I don't think that is slow.
I guess I could go back in and lower the resolution of the pics

0 upvotes
LVPhoto1
By LVPhoto1 (Jul 26, 2012)

Hi guys….Congratulations on a great idea…would you mind sharing as to what digital camera you have been using? Great colors…… all the best.
Mike.

1 upvote
Nismo350Z
By Nismo350Z (Jul 27, 2012)

It's better not knowing what cameras were used over the years. Let's just enjoy the true meaning of photography.

5 upvotes
J R R S
By J R R S (Jul 30, 2012)

Yeh - wheres the EXIF.... what ISO? what exposure? What lens, what tripod were they using? did it have a quick release plate?
Be intrested to know what kit bag they use?...
Do they shoot left handed? did they use 2 sec or 12 sec timer?

Makes all the diffrence :)

N.B. the colours are not great - they are bog standard?

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

Oops, I guess I shouldnt have posted it then

0 upvotes
shelex
By shelex (Jul 26, 2012)

Indeed Nicholas Nixon did it before
(with his famous work of 'The Brown Sisters')
and in a better artistic way, but still cheers for
the persistence and diligence of them
and their wonderful lasting friendship !

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Lupti
By Lupti (Jul 26, 2012)

Nice idea...but the site is so awfully slow, it feels like it has loaded completely when they take their next photograph in 2017...

0 upvotes
Waimak Stud
By Waimak Stud (Jul 26, 2012)

Actually my browser only loaded the first 2 and the last photo so I just had a good laugh and gave up.

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

Honestly I am shocked, this is the only place I've seen compaints about speed of our pages, I am investigating.

0 upvotes
windmillgolfer
By windmillgolfer (Jul 26, 2012)

Excellent idea and series. If only I'd thought of that a few years ago.....

0 upvotes
obe1
By obe1 (Jul 26, 2012)

I wonder how long it will be until someone smiles...

3 upvotes
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (Jul 26, 2012)

Time lapse photography is serious business. :-)

9 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

You need to look at all the photo, and you'll see

0 upvotes
masterofdeception
By masterofdeception (Jul 26, 2012)

Well Nicholas Nixon made a fine art career out of the Brown sisters..so it's not a completely new idea...but kudos to them!

0 upvotes
J2Gphoto
By J2Gphoto (Jul 26, 2012)

Notice as they get older and softer the shirts stay on? lmao

2 upvotes
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (Jul 26, 2012)

But the shorts still stay SHORT shorts. lol

1 upvote
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Jul 27, 2012)

First time they kept their shirts on was because it was cloudy, but then they just went with it, no excuse.

0 upvotes
aja2
By aja2 (Jul 26, 2012)

Not sure I should ask this... but what I wanna know is: what's in the jar? Neat idea but I think their site is going to crash any second now.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jul 27, 2012)

Click on the 1982 image to read the detail. Won't spoil it for you.

1 upvote
am stram gram
By am stram gram (Jul 27, 2012)

" One cockroach (live), One photo of Robert Young (to keep the roach company) and one butterscotch candy (roach food) "

0 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Jul 26, 2012)

Brilliant! And when I get to see the images I will be doubly thrilled. They unfortunately saddled themselves with the slowest web site on earth.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Jul 27, 2012)

Yeah, I think we were responsible for a bit of that trouble, along with CNN...

2 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Jul 29, 2012)

I finally got my chance and I must admit that watching them change over the years like that was really uplifting. No idea why, but I really appreciate seeing something like that.

2 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

Perhaps it was the number of Hits, I was told we got 11 million hits the first day, 50 million in a week.

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Jul 26, 2012)

Great endeavour. Thanks for the link.

0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 26, 2012)

Try their facebook page instead. Facebook is meant to handle the traffic.

2 upvotes
SDPharm
By SDPharm (Jul 26, 2012)

Nice skin tone in the 1982 and 1987 pictures. I wonder what digital camera they used back then?

1 upvote
jsis
By jsis (Jul 26, 2012)

Instagram

2 upvotes
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (Jul 26, 2012)

1982 exposure is way off though. ;-)

0 upvotes
THE WEDGE
By THE WEDGE (Aug 6, 2012)

Yeah, the 1982 was under exposed 400 speed Kodak film that sat in the camera for a long time in a lot of heat.

0 upvotes
boothrp
By boothrp (Jul 26, 2012)

Best wait 48 hours to view the site, it appears to be totally hammered !

1 upvote
alendrake
By alendrake (Jul 26, 2012)

Great idea and great example how a possibly insignificant event can evolve to a very signifiant one!

2 upvotes
Framer
By Framer (Jul 26, 2012)

I think their site is about to crash from everyone looking... ;-)

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (Jul 26, 2012)

The guy second from the left has impossibly HUGE legs! Cool idea.

3 upvotes
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (Jul 26, 2012)

Totally. It's like they're "shopped" on there. lol

0 upvotes
edu T
By edu T (Jul 27, 2012)

But as of 2012 he still has.

0 upvotes
BigCaplioFan
By BigCaplioFan (Jul 26, 2012)

Love the idea... Cool Thing!

2 upvotes
Menemsha Captain
By Menemsha Captain (Jul 27, 2012)

Nice idea. Some major gut-sucking-in is evident in the later shots, however.

1 upvote
Total comments: 108