In the photo album of life, there are friends from high school and young adulthood, friends made afterward and well beyond that.

Mark Rumer-Cleary and four of his closest friends have gone through those life stages together, as evidenced in their series of eight vacation photographs. Each photo was recreated to resemble an original picture, taken 35 years ago.

The tradition started when they were teens at a family fishing cabin near the Klamath River on Copco Lake in Northern California.

“It’s kind of a testament to our friendship,” said Rumer-Cleary. He and the others in the photo— John Wardlaw, John Dickson, Dallas Burney and John Molony— all grew up in Santa Barbara but live in different places now. Rumer-Cleary lives in Southeast Portland.

Every five years, they do their best to recreate the pose at the cabin. Wardlaw even created a website on which to document the photos. The guys hold the same props and expressions, but they can’t stop the changes that come with time.

“Pounds are added, pounds are lost…hair grays,” said Rumer-Cleary with a smile.

Over the years, the guys’ tradition has gone viral, drawing attention from around the world.

“We have received messages from folks who've been inspired to reconnect with old friends and start traditions,” said Rumer-Cleary. “Then they follow up with feedback and say, ‘Yeah we did this,’ – that's worth the price of admission right there!”

Now in their fifties, the five friends know each trip is more precious than the last.

“We start to wonder what's going to happen when are we going to have a gap in the picture,” said Rumer-Cleary. “It's inevitable.”

For now, the men are framing up the present, and focusing on the things that matter most to them.
“Friends, family, being in positive contact,” said Rumer-Cleary. “It’s making a difference.”