Friends forever! Five high school buddies have been recreating the same photo in the same spot for 35 years


Keeping in touch with your best friends from high school can be tough. People move away, start families, start careers, and suddenly nothing is the same as it was. For five pals from Santa Barbara, California, however, staying connected is a top priority, and every five years the group gets together to recreate a photo that has come to define their friendship.

Back in 1982, the quintet was on vacation near Copco Lake in Northern California, each of them at the ripe young age of 19, when they decided to capture their summer fun in a group photo. From that point on, the guys agreed that they would meet at the Siskiyou Country reservoir every five years to get on camera together and that they would do whatever it took to make it happen. They called it the Five Year Photo Project, and on June 24th, they marked the 8th installment of the series with their 2017 portrait.

Not only do they commit to making it out on holiday every year, but they also make sure that each photo stays as faithful to the original as possible, right down to the clothes they were wearing. They made the news for the first time in 2007, went viral in 2012, and are now celebrating their third round of media attention – we even previously covered them here!

From left to right, as always, check out John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony, and John Dickson below, and tell us in the comments which year looked best on them!



“In 1982 we took this rather odd photo. At the time we had not the idea that 30 years later we would be reproducing it every five years.”

Contents of jar: One cockroach (live), One photo of Robert Young (to keep the roach company) and one butterscotch candy (bug food).


“When we realized the same five guys were going to be at Copco together again we decided to take the same photo for the second time.”


“In 1992 the weather was cloudy and cold, so shirts were worn on the three John’s for the first time.”


“At this point, we had strayed a bit from the original photo, something we would start to correct in future pictures.”


“This was the year we got back to truly duplicating the original though John M. forgot his sunglasses and we made a joke with the huge jar.”


“On this occasion, we returned to a duplicate of the original jar (No Roach) and standardized a hat for all future photos.”


On this occasion, we even tracked down the original duplicate of the Robert Young photo to place in the jar. Sadly you can’t make out his face.”


“2017 Five Year Photo. Shirtless for the first time in 30 years.”

Friends forever! Five high school buddies have been recreating the same photo in the same spot for 35 years

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