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Picture This
July 26, 2012 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Five guys take same photo for 30 years. 'When five teenagers sat down and posed for a picture at Copco Lake in 1982, they didn't plan on making it a tradition. But that's what it became. Every five years for the past three decades, John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Mark Rumer, Dallas Burney and John Molony have been meeting at the California lake and taking the same photo.'

'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.
While hanging out on the deck of the cabin, Dickson, or J.D., set his 35-millimeter camera on self-timer to take a group photo.'

'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."
Dickson, who now works as a restaurant columnist, got married in mid-July and had some of the guys in his wedding. In June, all five friends celebrated Dickson's bachelor party at the 30-year anniversary of their Copco Lake tradition.
Molony, who has since relocated to New Orleans and works for UPS, is married, as is Wardlaw, who made a career of his love for photography and film. Burney is a fourth-grade teacher. Rumer, known as "Kram," now resides in Oregon and has retired after owning his own electronics company. None of the men have children yet.
"We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what," said Dickson. "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."
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."'
posted by VikingSword (120 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
The weirdest thing about this is that the guy in the middle has worn the same haircut for thirty years. Good for him and all but that'd be like a prison sentence for me.
posted by griphus at 12:59 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love stuff like this.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:00 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


That last interval is 5 years?! Looks like the fellas hit a bit of a rough patch ... yikes. I am not looking forward to 50...

The other big leap is from 82 to 87. Looks like they all joined the army.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:00 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm disappointed that this had nothing to do with hamburgers.
posted by inturnaround at 1:01 PM on July 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


The guy in the middle is wearing THE SAME SHORTS in the last 4 photos.
posted by Daddy-O at 1:05 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


That last interval is 5 years?! Looks like the fellas hit a bit of a rough patch ... yikes. I am not looking forward to 50...

When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?
posted by briank at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


The articles says they coalesced on an official costume and props midway through the series.
posted by cromagnon at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]



These guys are my cohort and it's weird that I'm thinking "gosh, they all look pretty good", then we get to 2002 and it all goes downhill.

The good news is that they're all still friends. I guess we're all aging. I just didn't think it would happen to my generation.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


The guy in the middle is wearing THE SAME SHORTS in the last 4 photos.

I still have some pants I wore in 8th grade. That's ... 28 years ago?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:07 PM on July 26, 2012


Uh, are the photos for 2002 and 2007 switched?
Like, everyone looks older in 2002 than they do in 2007.
posted by 235w103 at 1:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


25 years of the Brown sisters
posted by johngumbo at 1:08 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Comes with its own tl;dr in the sidebar:

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

- A photo tradition has helped five men maintain their friendship for 30 years
- The first shot was taken in 1982 during a summer lake trip
- Hairstyles have changed and shirts have appeared over the years
posted by Beardman at 1:09 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The guy in the middle is wearing THE SAME SHORTS in the last 4 photos.

That's only 1997 until now. I have quite a few things in the rotation that are older than that. Synthetic clothes that get drip-dryed will last forever.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:09 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you're right, 235w103.
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:10 PM on July 26, 2012


The 1987 hairdos are locked in an epic battle of terrilols with the 1992 hairdos.
posted by elizardbits at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2012


GREAT JOB CNN
posted by odinsdream at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person who aged way more than expected between 2007 and 2012. Stupid economy.
posted by The World Famous at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Uh, are the photos for 2002 and 2007 switched? Like, everyone looks older in 2002 than they do in 2007.

I don't think they're switched. Check the height of the foliage in the background - it gets progressively higher with each shot.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


So bittersweet. It's cool how 2 guys got a flat-top in '87. And yeah, I have an 18 year old Rollins Band sweatshirt that looks the same as it ever did.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 1:12 PM on July 26, 2012


That last interval is 5 years?!

It's George Clooney, I think, who has a theory that everyone ages 10 years one year in their life.

I like that theory. Especially when I meet someone my own age who looks preteraturally youthful.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:13 PM on July 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's 3/5ths shirts vs. shirtless in the first picture, and 5/5ths in the last. Good motivation to keep in shape, I suppose.
posted by codacorolla at 1:14 PM on July 26, 2012


That's nice, thank you for posting it. Aging gets us all, and it's great to have a thing like this that, silly though it seems, really does keep friendships together. (Even just by making it so that you'll all make the time to see each other every five years)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:17 PM on July 26, 2012


They fed their new friend with a piece of butterscotch candy and kept it company with a photograph of Robert Young.

Way to bury the lede!
posted by dirtdirt at 1:18 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


These guys are my cohort and it's weird that I'm thinking "gosh, they all look pretty good", then we get to 2002 and it all goes downhill.

Reminds me of last year when someone started a Facebook group for my 20th high school reunion. I didn't end up going, and looking at the photos posted to the site I'm glad. None of my classmates ending up showing up. Just a bunch of old people.
posted by The Gooch at 1:18 PM on July 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Comes with its own tl;dr in the sidebar:

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

- A photo tradition has helped five men maintain their friendship for 30 years
- The first shot was taken in 1982 during a summer lake trip
- Hairstyles have changed and shirts have appeared over the years


It is like Michael Apted's Up series for Tumblr.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:20 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, I know one of these guys. He was the founder and CTO of a company I worked for for 7 years. Knowing him, this is exactly the kind of thing he'd do.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:22 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow, if you're a 40 year-old guy this is like the most compelling thing ever.
posted by colie at 1:27 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Holy shit. I'm going to get old and die.
posted by cmoj at 1:28 PM on July 26, 2012 [29 favorites]


Matt LeBlanc looks so old #whathappened (starts at 1:34)
posted by argonauta at 1:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


One interesting thing to me is this: "None of the men have children yet." Marriages came and went, but no kids. I mean... what are the odds that five guys picked at random(?) will not have kids by this age? And what are the odds that one day one of them is going to have kids? Is there something about their all being friends that was some kind of self-selection process where not having kids was a factor of some kind as expression of personality or something?
posted by VikingSword at 1:34 PM on July 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


That last interval is 5 years?! Looks like the fellas hit a bit of a rough patch ... yikes. I am not looking forward to 50...

Well, the light in the last photo is falling really differently and casts a lot more shadows/deepens lines. Obviously, one does age between 45 and 50, but the light is a definite factor.

The unkindest thought I have is that straight male haircuts are generally not very flattering - it's like "grow your hair out to a length that is too long to be tidy but too short to hold any shape except 'brushed back in a way that gives the impression of very short layers'".
posted by Frowner at 1:36 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what," said Dickson. "Up until there's one guy just sitting in the same pose!"

One guy sitting alone, holding up an empty jar.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Last night, the bar I was at after work had a soundless TV in the background tuned to FX showing a re-run of an early season of Two and a Half Men, which was interrupted by commercials for Charlie Sheen's new show Anger Management, which provided a juxtaposition of 2003 Charlie Sheen with his 2012 self. And I made some jokes about how Sheen's wild lifestyle was catching up with him.

Given that he is approximately the same age as these guys (and, on further reflection, still looks better than me), I think I need to apologize to Charlie Sheen, a phrase I'd never thought I'd need to say.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:40 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect that Charlie Sheen benefits greatly from lighting and makeup.
posted by The World Famous at 1:47 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The unkindest thought I have is that straight male haircuts are generally not very flattering

I have seen literally every single one of those haircuts on lesbians or women who otherwise who otherwise identify their sexuality as Queer.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


When I took a photography class I was shown the nicolas nixon photos that johngumbo links to here. Nixon is married to one of the sisters and my teacher said that he would have students vote on which one it was and they always got it right.
posted by shothotbot at 1:50 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The other thing may seem so super obvious that it's not worth remarking upon, but to me, it's notable. This was 1982 California. Yet, it's a very homogenous group, racially speaking. No Asians, Latinos, Blacks. They are friends. We can speculate that maybe they had friends of other races, but the fact is, that when it came to spend time together at a cabin, well, they all have the same racial backgrounds. What does it say? We are still so segregated, that in 80's California, it's such a common fact of life that it strikes nobody as remarkable that a random group of five friends are all of the same racial background. I wonder if a random group of five high school friends today, in 2012 who took a photo of themselves, would also all have the same racial background?
posted by VikingSword at 1:54 PM on July 26, 2012


VikingSword, maybe it's because they're from up by Copco Lake? Unless I missed the locale of their school. My later 80's California high school pics are considerably more diverse but I'm from LA.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 2:01 PM on July 26, 2012


Holy fuck. If the fifth and sixth photos aren't reversed, thus exaggerating the decline between six and seven, I'd better start living like I mean it before I fall off a fucking cliff.

Oh wait. I see what's happened here...
posted by tigrefacile at 2:01 PM on July 26, 2012


Is there something about their all being friends that was some kind of self-selection process where not having kids was a factor of some kind as expression of personality or something?

Oh man, if only. I'd never have to sit through the endless tedious horror of a baby shower or baby's birthday party ever again.
posted by elizardbits at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2012


Stuff like this depresses me. While the alternative sucks, I do not like aging. Being a woman in her 40s you either get the MILF, cougar, or old lady stereotype by the youngin's.
posted by stormpooper at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if a random group of five high school friends today, in 2012 who took a photo of themselves, would also all have the same racial background?

Pretty much yes.

I live in a pretty well integrated zip code, and still black kids play with black kids, white kids play with white kids, latino kids play with latino kids, and asian kids play with asian kids. You get a little integration in high school/college, but not much.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2012


Oh man, if only. I'd never have to sit through the endless tedious horror of a baby shower or baby's birthday party ever again.

It's just a phase.
posted by The World Famous at 2:07 PM on July 26, 2012


maybe it's because they're from up by Copco Lake?

Well, the family summer house of one of the guys is by Copco Lake, but I'm not sure where they all are from - obviously all from the same locale, but the locale may be far from Copco Lake...
posted by VikingSword at 2:07 PM on July 26, 2012


Well, mrgrimm, thanks for depressing us.
posted by VikingSword at 2:09 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The 5th and 6th pictures *have* to be reversed. The guy second from the left goes from grey to blond to grey.
posted by Lucinda at 2:09 PM on July 26, 2012


I've reached an age where any "a photo an X every Y for Z Ys" just depress me. I honestly never thought I would exit youth.
posted by sourwookie at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2012


Though if you go to the original website, they are apparently in the correct order*. Weird.

*going by the descriptions of the pictures, as they are taking too long to load
posted by Lucinda at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2012


The 5th and 6th pictures *have* to be reversed. The guy second from the left goes from grey to blond to grey.
I guess he could have dyed it in between.
posted by dfan at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2012


what a downer thread you guys have turned this into. i like the images. birth, school, work, death, and all of that.
posted by readyfreddy at 2:16 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


You get a little integration in high school/college, but not much.

Yeah, my girlfriend was a little weirded out when she figured out that I and most of my friends -- all of whom grew up in Brooklyn -- are some variety of white or another. Kids self-segregate pretty quickly and solidly when they're still trying to figure out who they are and have little more to go on than the color of their skin and similar upbringings. And that habit stays on through high school.

It wasn't until college that many people develop personalities developed enough that we hung out because we were all into X or Y or Z and not because of circumstance.
posted by griphus at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2012


er, not all of my friend grew up in Brooklyn, but she was specifically referencing my friends who did.
posted by griphus at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2012


The placement of the jar in the 1997 picture makes it seem like the 2nd and 3rd guys from the left have their hands on each other's knees.

At first I was convinced that they did, and it was the kind of awesome detail that just begged for an explanation.
posted by gurple at 2:17 PM on July 26, 2012


Enough with the gloom, here is 66 year old Bolo Yeung still looking ripped (SLYT) single-link YeungTube.
posted by last night a dj saved my life at 2:22 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Terrifying.

I guess I'll see you guys in 5 years.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:25 PM on July 26, 2012


The 5th and 6th pictures *have* to be reversed. The guy second from the left goes from grey to blond to grey.

Pretty sure this is another case of just the sun hitting from a different angle, giving the fellow a more bleached look in 5 and 7 than 6
posted by edgeways at 2:26 PM on July 26, 2012


The more things change, the more they stay the same...?
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 2:29 PM on July 26, 2012


The unkindest thought I have is that straight male haircuts are generally not very flattering

Yes, but they look better on us. I mean, consider a man with a nice head of hair and a ponytail - he generally looks more distinguished than a woman with her hair in a ponytail, even if her hair is as nice as his. Haircuts are a social phenomenon.

Ie, men with buzzcuts never catch my eye; women with buzzcuts always do.
posted by Frowner at 2:30 PM on July 26, 2012


Holy shit. I'm going to get old and die.

If you're lucky.
posted by grog at 2:31 PM on July 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


One darkly humorous thing about approaching 40 is watching my fellow Generation Xers - many of whom endlessly derided* the Boomers for their obsession with youth when we were young - react with shock and horror to the fact that they're aging. Every generation thinks they invented sex and child rearing and is going to cheat death.

* one example: reunion tours. Remember the '90s, when they were for crappy dinosaur bands like the Stones and Fleetwood Mac, and boring rich yuppie Boomers? Now who's shelling out the big bucks for Pavement, The Pixies, The Stone Roses, Blur, etc...?
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 2:33 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Things change, but the douchey look of the guy with the jar is constant.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:35 PM on July 26, 2012


Ask not for whom the double chins come; they come for thee.

Sigh. Stupid aging.
posted by emjaybee at 2:37 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


One guy sitting alone, holding up an empty jar.

I'm reminded of the last picture in The Rolling Stones' sequence from Rock Dreams.
posted by Rash at 2:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure "man," "ponytail," and "distinguished" belong in the same sentence unless you're talking about the winner of this year's Roadie Awards.
posted by griphus at 2:45 PM on July 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


Holy shit. I'm going to get old and die.


Not me I've got a painting in the attic.
posted by The Whelk at 2:47 PM on July 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


I hope they made a pact that when a person dies, he must be cremated and his ashes placed in the jar.
posted by perhapses at 2:48 PM on July 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Not me I've got a painting in the attic.

Who painted it? I hear George Clooney's guy is phenomenal but good luck getting an appointment.
posted by griphus at 2:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


That last interval is 5 years?! Looks like the fellas hit a bit of a rough patch ... yikes. I am not looking forward to 50...

posted by mrgrimm at 9:00 PM on July 26


It all goes to hell at 48.
posted by Decani at 2:53 PM on July 26, 2012


From watching friends, it all goes to hell in the early 50's - 52-53-54 - sample of a dozen or so (men).
posted by VikingSword at 2:56 PM on July 26, 2012


Every generation thinks they invented sex and child rearing and is going to cheat death.

I think it's more that the aging thing wasn't supposed to happen this soon.

My dad had a shirt that he loved to death: "I"m not 60. I'm 18, with 42 years of experience!" In my 20s, I thought it was very funny. In my 40s, I'm realizing that it was true.
posted by Malor at 2:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


*insert saccharine Stevie Nicks / Beatles / modern country song here
posted by item at 3:01 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure "man," "ponytail," and "distinguished" belong in the same sentence unless you're talking about the winner of this year's Roadie Awards.

Or Adrian Belew.
posted by mykescipark at 3:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the new skills you get from aging, from seeing people you knew when they were younger suddenly re-appear in your life with decades added, is the ability to look at a young person and visualize what they will look like when they are old.

This series of pictures helps by showing you the stages -- you can see not just that the Beach-Boys-ish guy became the fork-bearded greyhair, but how he changed, and how it is that he would end up looking the way he does now and not like one of the other old men in the picture.

I didn't use to have that skill at all. I would look at a girl I liked, and at her mom, and fail to see any connection beyond obvious things like skin and hair color; grown-ups seemed to be a different species of humanity. Now teenagers all look like "premature adults" to me.

It's a bit creepy, like the story of how Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree Jr.) would look at babies in their strollers and imagine them as elderly dessicated corpses.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think when there's one guy left he should put something mysterious and horrible-looking in the jar, and pose with it all clutching it and laughing maniacally.

(I'm told I don't do "sentimental" very well.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other thing may seem so super obvious that it's not worth remarking upon, but to me, it's notable. This was 1982 California. Yet, it's a very homogenous group, racially speaking. No Asians, Latinos, Blacks. They are friends. We can speculate that maybe they had friends of other races, but the fact is, that when it came to spend time together at a cabin, well, they all have the same racial backgrounds. What does it say? We are still so segregated, that in 80's California, it's such a common fact of life that it strikes nobody as remarkable that a random group of five friends are all of the same racial background. I wonder if a random group of five high school friends today, in 2012 who took a photo of themselves, would also all have the same racial background?
My youth was split between Arcata/Eureka on the NoCal coast, and Redding, at the top of the Central Valley, neither place not too very far from Copco Lake. Those fellas are not too many years older than me -- I'd have been in Junior high when that first photo was taken.

Back then, Northern California was not diverse. At all. There were a couple of native Americans around, and a couple of Mexican-Americans ... and then us white folks. In high school there were three or four African-Americans (out of a school of ~900 students), all three of whom were from the same family.

There weren't a lot of opportunities to build friendships among diverse people because we were all the same. It's bound to have changed by now, but probably not a whole lot.

Had my niece and her friends taken that photo, all of whom just graduated from South Pasadena High, you'd have seen a Mexican-Korean-American (my niece), two Anglo-Americans (her BFFs), a Mexican-American (friend and softball teammate), and an Asian-American (friend).
posted by notyou at 3:07 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Behold, the ravages of age!
posted by peacrow at 3:11 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, they're all getting older. Who would have guessed?

And what is that thing crawling on the face of they guy in the 2012 picture? Nuke it with fire, please!
posted by BlueHorse at 3:13 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It looks as though the second guy from the left, after 30 years of slightly shifting haircuts, saw Liam Neeson in Batman Begins and said "yeah, that's what I'm going to aim for!"

I consider that a fruitful lifetime journey with a happy ending.
posted by sendai sleep master at 3:13 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The 5th and 6th pictures *have* to be reversed. The guy second from the left goes from grey to blond to grey.

Nah, it's just that the sixth has the sun in a better position. The fifth is slightly overexposed, so everyone seems washed out (light into the lens) and more craggy (strong shadows from the side).


Back then, Northern California was not diverse. At all.

This is sort of a weird generalization. Northern California is a big place. In the Bay Area, most of my classes were 1/4 to 1/2 Hispanic, with nearly as many Asian kids. Sometimes whites kids were less than half my classes, especially in high school.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:14 PM on July 26, 2012


The part of Northern California I'm from considers the Bay Area to be part of "Down South."
posted by notyou at 3:17 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Did I miss something? Have all wars ended, no child gone hungry, not even a celeb tragedy story out there? I mean, this has to be symptomatic of the slowest news day ever at CNN.
posted by chavenet at 3:17 PM on July 26, 2012


Muffinman, Clooney is a surprisingly perceptive dude. A few years ago I had a very painful condition that looked like it was going to be with me for the rest of my life. (It eventually got a lot better, knock wood, but I had a few very painful and scary years there.) During the worst of it I heard an NPR interview with Clooney where he talked about dealing with chronic pain from a serious back injury. He said something to the effect that the pain was intolerable, until he learned to stop expecting it to get better. In other words, he had spent every day comparing his pain to how he expected to feel normally, and he just kept waiting to get better and it was endlessly frustrating. But when he stopped waiting to get better and learned to take each day as it came, the pain became much easier to bear. I'm not putting it as well as he did, but the idea did make sense to me and it actually helped get me through a really rough period. I definitely did not expect to get life-changing advice from the dude from ER!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:19 PM on July 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


One of the worst moments of my life was having a cashier ask me if I get the senior discount. I was 48.
posted by davebush at 3:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The part of Northern California I'm from considers the Bay Area to be part of "Down South."

I thought as much, but in the rest of the state this usage is not common. For most people, Northern California is the northern half of the state.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:35 PM on July 26, 2012


Yeah.

We need a more precise term for that part of the state. Some have suggested annexing Far Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and BC, seceding from the Union and Canada, and calling the new entity "Cascadia".

Incrementalists, such as me*, like to go with "Way NoCal", which I used here, but edited away before posting.


----------------
*And so far, only me.
posted by notyou at 3:44 PM on July 26, 2012


The part of Northern California I'm from considers the Bay Area to be part of "Down South."

Humboldt? I've met a few people like that.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on July 26, 2012


Shirts vs Skins! The 2nd guy in the first few pics is shirtless and ripped and two don't take thier shirts off. In the last few...guy #2 is obviously doing major stomach sucking in.....and NO ONE takes the shirts off.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:48 PM on July 26, 2012


...and I should add that the next photo they do, everyone will be shirtless because they will understand that no one cares and it's just more important to be comfortable.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:57 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


25 years of the Brown sisters

You know, it's fantastic they have these photos. Also, DO NOT MESS with the Brown sisters, because they will SHANK YOU.

(I love their steel-eyed stares.)
posted by xingcat at 4:10 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The big question that doesn't seem to be answered is: what's in the jar??

And yes - dude wearing the same shorts from 1997? I have boxer shorts from that era that are still in regular rotation. They're SO COMFORTABLE.
posted by antifuse at 4:24 PM on July 26, 2012


The 5th and 6th pictures *have* to be reversed.

I do not understand the people who are saying this. To me the ageing is more obvious in that gap than pretty much all of the others. But then I'm 53 and so perhaps I know exactly what to look for.

You can look pretty damned good and youthful until your early/mid forties, if you exercise and don't go too crazy on the vices. I imagine you can look good longer if you go for the Spartan health-Nazi thing. That was never going to be me, but I did always make a point of exercise. I held up pretty well until my early forties. I am looking at a photo of myself at the age of 40 right now. I look pretty good. No visible grey, a reasonably firm jawline, no obvious softness around the belly. And that was about a year before I bust my Achilles' tendon and gave up playing squash, and before I started earning huge money and living in New York, with all of its evil temptations. Man, things fell apart then, but I don't regret a single one of those sybaritic years. I've pulled things back together a bit since then but... yeah, that last picture is more or less where I am.
posted by Decani at 4:24 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bily Idol is 57.
posted by 256 at 4:29 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Arrow of Time photo series of the same family in Argentina, as they've looked on June 17th every year since 1976, also seems to be still going strong.
posted by LeLiLo at 4:32 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, consider a man with a nice head of hair and a ponytail - he generally looks more distinguished than a woman with her hair in a ponytail, even if her hair is as nice as his.

I'm not sure "distinguished" is the word that you're looking for there.
posted by antifuse at 4:34 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of the worst moments of my life was having a cashier ask me if I get the senior discount. I was 48.
posted by davebush at 6:32 PM


One of mrgood's worst moments was when he stopped by a drugstore to get diapers for our new baby, and he was directed to the adult diaper aisle.

He would argue one of the reasons these gentlemen don't look any worse than they do in the latest picture is because they are childless.
posted by peagood at 4:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's interesting to me at 45 is how differently everyone ages. I have friends who seem to be more mature versions of their 25-year-old self, and others who look like every one of their 45 years has been a struggle, even though they looked "normal" when they were, say, 30.

I don't think I've held up as well as many of my contemporaries, but then again I would never be a spokesperson for an active, healthy lifestyle.
posted by maxwelton at 5:11 PM on July 26, 2012


"We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what," said Dickson.
To progress!
posted by yz at 6:00 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, the first time I looked at these photos was a little bit jarring. I came back 10 minutes later and looked again, and realized, "Hey, they all actually look pretty good!" Try it.
posted by bennett being thrown at 6:23 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


To progress! Man, I know that's probably supposed to be depressing as fuck, but I found it totally heartwarming, probably because I already worry about the apocalypse way too much.

I should make my friends promise that when the world economy collapses and we run out of oil and Miami is 20 feet underwater and blah blah blah we at least need to have a potluck on a regular basis. That would make the whole thing way more tolerable.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:24 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


here is 66 year old Bolo Yeung still looking ripped

I cannot even imagine going to the gym in a leather jacket. Must be chilly in there.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:41 PM on July 26, 2012


The trouble with me in this regard is that I've never been able to rally up a group of stable adventure buddies. In fact, I've spent my adult life as such a dedicated solo traveler that my vacation pictures amount to pictures of my car in interesting locales.

Here's my Citroën DS21 in front of the famous Claxton Fruit Cake factory...here's my Saab Sonett on the lawn of Emily Dickinson's house...here's my Fiat Strada looking wistfully out at the overlook about Berkeley Springs...here's my Citroën Dyane next to the statue of Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk (followed by the picture of the angry park policeman who insisted that a car was not a family member and was therefore not allowed to drive up to the monument)...here's my Datsun broken down on the causeway to Key West...here's my Saab 96 in the snow at—well, let's just say my slideshows would be exhausting to all but the most esoteric gearheads.

Probably says something very lonesome about my character, alas.

I did have a funny before-and-after moment triggered by photography not too many years back, essentially because I keep a polaroid of what is, legally speaking, probably child pornography in my medicine cabinet behind the bottle of fluoride. It's been there for maybe eighteen years, and I think I may have originally put it there to keep my mother from rooting in my medicine cabinet through the concept of mutually assured destruction, but at any rate, it's a timer shot of me and my fooling-around-buddy at the time in a scandalous state of undress doing something acrobatic and theoretically impossible. I read an article some years ago that people actually got prosecuted for owning self-taken pictures of their pre-legal selves in scandalous states of undress, and keep thinking I should hide it somewhere, but I move very slowly in matters of changing things in my apartment.

My fooling-around-buddy and I wound up on opposite ends of the Kinsey Scale when Presbyterian rumspringa wound down and serious adulthood beckoned, but he stopped by after I hadn't seen him in about twenty years and we had a lot of laughs, brought up the old stories and the old places and the old people and the this and the that and the "so, I hear you're married now?" and the "so, you wound up doing the gay thing?" and it was nice, and oddly without tension of the fooling-around variety because I'm old and wise and not so desperate for a hookup. He did ask what became of the old polaroids, though.

He'd kept about half. Thought he'd hidden them well, wasn't sure why he had them beyond nostalgia, and the wife turned them up one day out of the blue, and—well, lucky for him, she thought this was the hottest thing she'd ever seen, and knew him well enough to recognize a passing moment in experimental science.

"You may have been responsible for the birth of my kid, though."

This made me blush in a tingly and flattered way.

My half of the filthy loot? Well, Ma had found one, and found that (a) it's really hard to tear up a polaroid even when you're not verging on hysteria and (b) people with sensitive skin can get mild chemical burns in an attempt to tear up a polaroid. Accidentally gave one to a friend while I'd been using it as a bookmark in a hymnbook. He found it amusing, held onto it for a while, then accidentally returned the wrong hymnbook with a rather inappropriate bookmark to the Episcopal church where he worked as a relief organist, and it was never seen again. I think the rest are wherever my insanely valuable comic book about a damned aardvark went, or in my FBI file.

The last one I had, well—

"Which one was it?" asked my old friend.

"It's in the medicine cabinet behind the bottle of fluoride." He retrieved it and stood there, looking, and just sort of wilted.

"Jesus, Joe, we are so fucking old."

"Yeah. I can't even tie my shoes without sounding like a bull walrus fighting for dominance on the beach."

"Man. When were we ever that skinny and...uh...flexible?"

"See my OP muscle shirt hanging over the arm of the chair in the background with my checkerboard Vans? That's when."

"Huh. It just goes so fast."

"Yup."

The moment, wherein two middle-aged men sat there wistfully looking at possible child pornography and reflecting on the immensity of aging, lasted quite a long time. We went and got dinner at an old haunt where I'd spent seven years slinging pizza of the only good variety ever served in Maryland, and went out for a few beers and Shirley Temples with extra cherries (my signature cocktail). Later, my friend laughingly suggested we recreate the photo.

"Dude, that would be so fucking funny."

"Are you kidding me? Have you seen the internet? The second that thing turned into a stream of data, mean high school kids would be tricking their stupid buddies into looking at it. We'd be the new fucking goatse."

"Wuss."

"Okay, you're done drinking for now, drunkie."

We did not reenact that old photo, which remains behind the bottle of fluoride and probably will until I get around to replacing the crappy old medicine cabinet with the one I bought in 1999 to replace it or until I have to swiftly eat the polaroid to avoid arrest with a SWAT team at my door. It would be a laugh, largely because it would be much like Laurel and Hardy porn, complete with a pratfall involving an ill-advised geriatric synchronized pas de doble stab at a usually autonomous act, but I don't know what these before and after shots really serve. Today, I look a lot like all the men that I found strangely compelling when I was that bendy, sullen teen with a taste for Lene Lovich, yellow metallic ties, and mousse in quantities sufficient to foam a runway for a crashing airliner. Life rendered as a loop of self-fulfilling narcissism, punctuated by family photos of cars now long since crushed or left to evaporate in the rain.

To have a core group with longevity...well, I'm jealous. Sigh.
posted by sonascope at 6:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [26 favorites]


"We plan on doing this for the rest of our lives, no matter what," said Dickson. "Up until there's one guy just sitting in the same pose!"

And that last guy is the winner of the tontine.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:43 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


wow, so much gloom and doom for aging. In my late teens, I was depressed and felt horrible, in my 20s I was lost and detached from everything. In my 30s, there's so much good stuff in my life and I've never felt better. I can't wait to rock my 40s.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 6:52 PM on July 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


What I am getting from this is to make sure everyone I know sees me on a regular basis so there is never a shocking moment where we all realize we've aged and get all depressed about it.

That frog in the slowly simmering pot of water was on to something.
posted by apparently at 7:19 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Best viewed by cycling through the slideshow over and over again at a slowly accelerating pace while humming Philip Glass to yourself.
posted by No-sword at 9:58 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know about other women but I found the advent of the invisible years less alienating once I'd deliberately created my own meaning for them based on my particular circumstances and interests. I don't have family or a lot of connection with others (by my own doing, as to me less connection equals more freedom to be exactly who I am) so I'm making this next phase about physical strength, self-sufficiency and the learning and improving of many interests.

I will be physically strong and able to sprint and run long-distance, living in a vardo, and learning Krav Maga, frailing banjo, photography and improving my Spanish. And I will still look sharp...for my own amusement. I am currently flaunting the same hair style (a bit shorter) as the model's in this photo and an armload of 44 large and small silver bangles at the mystifying age of 48.

Luckily for me, I work and live in an area where I can look how I want and I intend to take full advantage of it. Actually, scratch that, that was not luck, I made that happen. I got a job working for a social service agency (just spent a month scheduled at InSite Safe Injection Site) in a area of town I wanted to be in because I refused to be both invisible and in an office job I despised. I highly recommend it.

Fuck disappearing. I'm here.
posted by moneyjane at 5:12 AM on July 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


perhapses: I hope they made a pact that when a person dies, he must be cremated and his ashes placed in the jar.

With a picture of Robert Young for company.
posted by dr_dank at 6:16 AM on July 27, 2012


NotYou, I grew up in Arcata, 30-years old now, so born in 1982, when the first picture was taken. Went through the entire schooling process up to college in Arcata. If I tried really hard, I bet I could name every non-white kid in my grade. There were only about a dozen.

And yeah, I never figured out why San Francisco wasn't called Central CA. It's in the middle. I suppose we have a different perspective from behind the Redwood Curtain.
posted by mollymayhem at 7:43 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always found it weird when people would say that SF was in Northern California as well. It's very clearly closer to the middle. But maybe because all people think about when it comes to California is either "Southern California" (LA and SD) or "North of Southern California" (everything else). Eureka, now THAT is Northern California.
posted by antifuse at 7:48 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


A little far afield from the topic, but neat to see a strong Humboldt County contingent on Mefi that I didn't know existed. I went to college up there in what were some of the absolute best years of my life and one of the greatest small communities I've ever lived in. Would probably still be there today if jobs were more plentiful up that way. Actually used to go camping quite a bit in the Klamath area where this photo was taken.
posted by The Gooch at 8:28 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the worst moments of my life was having a cashier ask me if I get the senior discount. I was 48.

That's about when I started asking for the discount, and receiving it always pleases me, makes me feel like a survivor. The kid behind the cash register always gives it to me, no questions asked, even though my peers find me remarkably well-preserved -- I'm one of maxwelton's mature 25-year-olds. And yeah, exercise and being childless keeps me that way.

Some have suggested annexing Far Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and BC, seceding from the Union and Canada, and calling the new entity "Cascadia"

Excellent idea -- and at the same time NorCal's absorbing southern BC, SoCal should be annexing Baja.
posted by Rash at 9:16 AM on July 27, 2012


GREAT JOB CNN

CNN President stepping down, says network needs "new thinking"
posted by Beardman at 11:06 AM on July 27, 2012


The Gooch: I was born there and mostly reared there (we moved from McKinleyville to Redding as I entered junior high. That was a sad day.) and I'd be back if I could figure out a way to make it pay.

My dad has retired to a fishing boat in Crescent City and an RV parked in Hiouchi, so I manage to pass through there every once in a while and remind myself that I want to go back.

mollymayhem: The Redwood Curtain... I always got the sense, when driving south on 101 at say Rio Dell that I was leaving someplace special and by Garberville, I'd left it.

I'd get the same feeling heading east on 299 just before the top of the pass. Strangely, I never felt that way going north on 101 toward Orick and Crescent City. That always felt like I was going deeper into it.

The niece I mentioned upstream? I managed to cajole her into attending Humboldt. She starts in a couple-three weeks. Her parents are driving her up (they've never been), but I think I'll manage a few trips to bring her home for the holidays over the next several years.
posted by notyou at 11:09 AM on July 27, 2012



I'm not sure "man," "ponytail," and "distinguished" belong in the same sentence unless you're talking about the winner of this year's Roadie Awards.


And yet you live in New York with all the hipsters and such! Pony tails are coming back, as is longer hair for men generally. I've seen a number of hip young things with longish hair and several with ponytails...and once longish hair becomes popular, fashion people will grow it out into ponytail length to distinguish themselves from the herds who have merely longish hair. Plus, the nineties are coming back and that was the great era of longish and long hair on guys. You mark my words - ties and lapels are getting wider, men's style bloggers are going to succeed in reviving a sort of louche seventies old money chic and long hair is coming back.

In fact, I'd argue that it's precisely because people who are a teensy bit over the hill style-wise (that is, people in their late twenties through late thirties) think that long hair on men is seedy, tacky, low class, etc that long hair will be revived. It's that old hipster Oedipal death struggle thing, man. Whatever the "parent" generation disliked must be embraced and its hallmarks of hip must be rejected.

Also, capitalism. I remember back in 2002 or so when I realized that hair bands and heavy metal were inevitably going to have to come back...because there was all this stuff - old records, old tapes, old shirts, fashion stuff, music - that would be useless to capitalism unless it could be recuperated. Similarly, the nineties have to come back.

I myself strive for timelessness now that I'm a boring old workaday queer who can't keep a pink collar gig and have an interesting haircut.
posted by Frowner at 2:15 PM on July 27, 2012


Slowly combs shoulder length viking hair and waits for Frowners redictions to come true
posted by The Whelk at 2:35 PM on July 27, 2012


With my luck, by the time it's cool again, I'll be bald enough that I'll have to chop mine off. Oh well.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:37 PM on July 27, 2012


Beefy goodness.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2012


And yeah, I never figured out why San Francisco wasn't called Central CA. It's in the middle. I suppose we have a different perspective from behind the Redwood Curtain.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:43 AM on July 27

I always found it weird when people would say that SF was in Northern California as well. It's very clearly closer to the middle. But maybe because all people think about when it comes to California is either "Southern California" (LA and SD) or "North of Southern California" (everything else). Eureka, now THAT is Northern California.
posted by antifuse at 10:48 AM on July 27



Pfff. Over on the east coast, everything north of the New York City line is referred to as "Upstate" New York. Scarsdale is "upstate".
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:16 PM on July 27, 2012


I wonder what that makes Long Island. "Subzerostate"? "Sofardownit'supagainstate"?
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:17 PM on July 27, 2012


Land of wind and ghosts.
posted by The Whelk at 7:45 AM on July 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


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