There’s a special kind of nostalgia that you feel when you look back at old family photos. Photos give you a sense of how much time has passed and how much has changed over the years. Those photos capture a moment in time that we can never return to but we will always cherish.
In 1986, one father began a tradition with his son. He took a photo with his son posed the same way every year for nearly 30 years. Altogether, these photos show the way these two people transformed and grew into a family. Keep reading to see the transformation for yourself.
This is the first photo in this 30 year-long series. It was taken just after the baby in this photo was born. The dad in this photo was in his 20s when this picture was taken. His life had just been turned upside down by the arrival of a brand new baby boy.
He just started learning how to change diapers, and you can almost see the sleep deprivation in his eyes. It’s the start of a beautiful journey.
So much can change in a year! This little boy is growing fast. He looks so much more alert and awake in this photo. Dad looks pretty much the same, although he does look like he got some sleep finally.
Dad looks a lot more comfortable as a father and you can really see the bond developing between these two. Don’t you just want to pinch those little cheeks? At a year old, this kid is just starting to learn how to walk.
In 1988, the boy is now almost three years old. He’s pulling a funny face for the camera. We’re really starting to see his personality develop in these photos. You can see that these two love to be silly and have fun together.
At this point, the boy has already learned how to talk. He can carry on conversations, and he probably asks a lot of questions. We can totally imagine this kid in his “why?” phase.
It’s 1989 and these two are still looking very handsome. Dad seems to have shaved his beard completely. We’ve seen it get smaller and smaller as the years progress. The little boy likely just started school and has no idea just how much the world is changing around him.
In 1989, people were preparing for a new decade. The Berlin Wall, that stood dividing East and West Germany, came down in 1989. Meanwhile, scientists just launched the first World Wide Web browser.
It’s a new decade! The boy is now almost five years old. He’s giving his dad a big hug and telling the camera that things are going to be a-ok.
To refresh your memories, the 1990s were kicked off with the premiere of Seinfeld and The Simpsons (although we doubt dad let his son watch either show). For some reason, it always feels like the ’90s were just ten years ago when really, this photo is 30 years old.
In 1991 this boy is almost six years old, and he’s getting so big! He’s probably just about ready to start the first grade. These two look so happy to be around each other. It looks like dad has grown his beard back, and we have to say that we approve. The facial hair really suits him.
1991 was the year of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, and even Pee Wee Herman’s arrest for indecency.
We’re leaving our usual white wall backdrop this year for something a bit more adventurous: the open sea. These two look like they’re enjoying their time at the beach.
The boy is wrapping his arms around his dad, who has once again shaved off his beard. In 1992, we saw everything from the Rodney King riots to the final appearance of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. It was a dramatic year, but at least these two had each other.
We’re back in front of that old white wall backdrop again. These two are in a familiar pose. The boy looks so much bigger in this photo. Pretty soon, he’ll be too big for his dad to pick him up. Dad looks pretty much the same. Does this man ever age?
Although these two look happy and content, 1993 was a year of loss in the entertainment world. The public lost Audrey Hepburn, Frank Zappa, and Anthony Burgess.
Oh, hey, they’re not naked! In this photo, you can see that they’re both clearly wearing pants. We can probably assume that the dad was wearing pants in all the previous photos too. The son is starting to look so much like his father. They even pose in a similar way.
In 1994, the world lost Kurt Cobain. We also witnessed O.J. Simpson’s famous trial. Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Shawshank Redemption all came out in 1994.
Dad brought back the facial hair! It looks like the boy is sporting a. bit of a shorter haircut. These two look like they’re just loving life right now. They’ve spent nine years in the world together and they are excited to make even more memories.
IN 1995, the not-guilty verdict arrived for O.J. Simpson which led to public outcry, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, and the Rwandan genocide is in full swing.
Ten years old and this son has achieved another major milestone. These two might seem serious but they must be reveling in the incredible changes they saw every day around them.
The biggest is the beginning of the internet age. The son was only three years old when the first web browser was launched. Seven years later and more than 45 million people in North America use the Internet. We thank the internet now or we’d never get to see this incredible transformation.
Seriously, this son has grown so much since he was born in 1986 there’s no way his father can pick him up for that much longer! Dad seems to be slowly growing older too. I guess that’s what happens when you’re busy raising a child.
1997 was quite the year for monumental moments. Titanic and Good Will Hunting were both released in theaters that year. Oh, and an author name J.K. Rowling released a book about a boy wizard. Ever heard of it?
Twelve years old and it looks like the little boy from before isn’t so little anymore. These two probably spent hours thinking of the perfect pose now that dad can’t just easily pick him up.
As for the happenings of 1998, it was all entertainment all the time. Television was overtaking everyone’s lives. An estimated 76 million people tuned into the Seinfeld series finale, while ER managed to make $13 million an episode from NBC.
Talk about a growth spurt! The son is almost taller than the father. If we hadn’t seen that the father always had long hair, we’d argue he was growing it out so he could still be taller.
Thirteen years old and heading into the new millennium, a lot of change was on the horizon. Aside from the constant fears of Y2K, a new controversial president and a shift in world dynamics would come in 2000.
How is this boy holding a new puppy and managing to keep a straight face? We’d be smiling uncontrollably from ear to ear. The father can’t contain himself like his son around their new furry family member. We’re totally fine with this new addition to the family.
We’re also glad the family managed to survive the rumors of apocalypse and doomsday that surrounded the new millennium. The next 15 years would show incredible changes in both of them.
It looks like we can stop calling him a boy because he’s grow into quite the young man. Fifteen years old and he’s right on par with his father. You can see the confidence he’s gained now that he’s in high school and ready to take on the world.
On the flip side, dad is honestly looking a little weathered. If he thought raising a child was hard, he never expected what the teen years would bring.
The son has officially surpassed his father in height and dashing looks. You can tell he is still just a teenager though and hasn’t grown into his lanky body. Still, he is practically a carbon copy of his father when he was young.
The two look pretty carefree considering the world is under mass hysteria since the 9/11 World Trade Centre bombings from the year before and the 2002 anthrax scare.
Not so surprisingly, this young man is clearly starting to mature and find himself as a teenager. Clearly, his body is starting to fill out more, and he’s quickly surpassed his father’s height.
As his son starts to grow older and his metabolism is clearly starting to take over his body, you can see that the same isn’t really the case for his father. While his dad was once as thin as the son is now, his dad bod is definitely coming into shape.
His son continues to round into shape, and it looks like he’s becoming quite the athlete considering his thin, muscular frame. It almost looks like his father is trying to hold him back as he’s packing on the muscle.
If the son was trying to get into the entertainment business then he had some tough competition. In 2004, sequels were all the range with Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2 dominating the box office.
This is the grainiest photo of them all, which leads me to believe it may have been taken on a whim and not planned out like the others. The son would have just turned 19 and is probably out on his own in the world now, whether it means at school or in the workforce.
Anyone who moves out knows that the first year is a period of hyper-independence where you might not see your parents as much.
We’ve entered the son’s 20s and he’s over the Bruce Lee look and has totally embraced the 2000s surfer dude vibe. He looks young and happy, but you can see the father starting to age.
Dad has officially adopted the dad bod, and you can see his face starting to fill out with age. On the bright side, he’s still got a full head of hair which means the son will probably inherit those good genes.
Uh oh, it seems like dad has fully accepted the aging process here. Everything from the pleated oversized pants in comparison to the son’s well-fitting jeans shows their age difference.
2007 saw the world stage rocked with influential global events. The biggest of which was President George W. Bush’s choice to legalize government eavesdropping into telephone conversations. We know that comes back to bite him later.
2008 was the year of change in America when they made history and elected the first African-American president, Barack Obama. We also saw a change in Hollywood with the death of Heath Ledger, Bernie Mac, and George Carlin.
As for these two, they didn’t seem to change at all. In fact, the dad may or may not be wearing the exact same pair of pants and belt. I’d recognize those pleats anywhere.
Finally, we see these two change things up. Is that a plaid pair of pajama pants I see? A bold change and I like it. The son is growing older and you can see him slowly turning into his father more and more.
Rather than the dad wrap his arms around the son, it’s gone the other way. The son has also started filling out in his face to look more like dad.
If you added some long shaggy hair to the son in this photo, he’d be a dead ringer for his father when he was born. You can really see their resemblance in the nose, eyes, and mouth now that they’ve developed into the same body and face shape.
As for the rest of the world, they’re still suffering two years later thanks to the 2008 recession. We hope the money problem didn’t hit these two that hard.
These two have truly come full circle. Once again the son has chosen to cradle his father rather than the other way around. I guess any parent would like to hope that if they spend 18+ years raising a child that they’ll return the favor one day.
The son is almost 25 and looks like he won’t have to worry about a receding hairline anytime soon. Dad still has a full head of hair.
I’m honestly impressed that it took until 2012 for the father to fully develop a beer belly. Most other dads would have had it the moment their kids moved out and they no longer had to worry about being a role model for peak health and fitness.
2012 was another monumental year for Americans when they reelected President Obama, and saw the loss of celebrities like Whitney Houston, Andy Griffith, and Dick Clark.
We absolutely adore the complete change of pace. Although these two cracked a smile every once in a while throughout the years, they rarely showed off their fun side. To have such a close bond for so many years, they must have had a similar sense of humor.
Seeing the two completely reverse roles and have the son carry the father must mean a big change is right around the corner.
The final photo took place two years later and now we can see why! It looks like the son must have been busy raising a child. This addition to the family photo makes it so much more meaningful. You can see just how proud both of them are to see their family grow.
We can only hope they continue the tradition on for another thirty years and we get to watch the family grow even more.