In 1982, five guys at a cabin on Copco Lake in California posed for a picture. The first photograph of the high school friends was just happenstance. Wardlaw, known as Wedge in the group, had a family cabin at the lake where the friends gathered in July 1982. “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.”
John Wardlaw, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney, John Molony and John Dickson in 1982
It wasn’t until five summers later when Wardlaw, a photography enthusiast, decided it would be fun to recreate the photograph they’d taken in ’82.
In 1997, 15 years after the original photo, the men, then in their mid-30s, decided to solidify the photo as a tradition they would continue every five years for the rest of their lives.
As the ritual became more concrete and when digital cameras were introduced, the group became more picky over the details of the photo, going as far as to wear the same clothes, and designate an official jar and hat as props. Hairstyles have changed over the years and with the march of time they abandoned the bare-chested motif.
Now, the friends also take the time to film the ordeal, and interview each other concerning the last five years’ events.
Over the years, the friends have played parts in the milestones of each others’ lives, including being in each others’ weddings.
“I look at the photos and think of the relationships I went through,” said Dickson. “Wedding rings come and go, if you look closely.”
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