For a family, there is nothing more precious than looking back at photos from childhood and seeing how everyone has grown. A picture truly can say 1000 words, and that’s why people cherish them so much.
This father and son decided they didn’t want to forget a moment or memory, so they took a photo every year together for nearly thirty years. These photos aren’t just a snapshot of time, but a way to track the beautiful transformation of a young family. You’ll never believe how different they look in the end.
We’ll kick it off in 1986. Dad here looks young and impressionable. Just like every new father, he’s probably going through the motions of learning how to change diapers and getting no sleep.
For context, 1986 was the year that The Oprah Winfrey Show hit national television networks, Phil Collins had the album of the year, and the Challenger Space Shuttle had just exploded to the shock of the American popular.
Wow, we can’t help but notice the mountain of hair on this little boy! I’d be willing to bet he grows up to have an incredible head of hair over the years. Of course, that will be easy to find out since we know what he grows up to look like.
Dad looks a lot more comfortable as a father and you can really see the bond developing between these two.
Many of the photos these two have taken over three decades show them looking pretty straight-laced and serious. This photo, when the son is only three, shows a much goofier side to the father-son duo. It’s clear just how much fun they have with each other as the son grows older.
By now he’s three years old and is probably coming close to carrying on conversations and showing some real affection.
It’s 1989 and these two have returned to looking as serious as ever. The little boy likely just started school and has no idea just how much the world is changing around him.
The Berlin Wall, that stood dividing East and West Germany, came down in 1989. Meanwhile, scientists just launched the first World Wide Web browser, and Bobby McFerrin was telling us “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”
The son here is feeling calm, cool, and collected now that he’s reached the five-year milestone in his life. It’s probably because he knows deep down that the ’90s are going to be a wild decade of change and excitement.
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), and Milli Vanilli got caught for lip-syncing.
Six years old and not a care in the world. The little boy here seems happy and carefree in his father’s arms. Dad, on the other hand, looks just as stoic as usual, possibly even worried.
Maybe that’s because of all the dramatic things happening in 1991 like the dissolution of the Soviet Union, end of the Cold War, and even Pee Wee Herman’s arrest for indecency. On the bright side, at least Phil Collins was topping the music charts again.
This carefree beach photo is a nice switch from the usual ultra-serious vibe these two have going on. Finally, once again, they both look happy and carefree.
They must be spending lots of much-needed beach time to escape the even more dramatic events of 1992. Everything from the Rodney King riots to the final appearance of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show made 1992 a pretty grim year. At least the son has a sparkle of hope in his eyes.
We’ve moved back to basic with this photo, a.k.a. they’ve returned to the plain white wall. Although the change of scenery was nice, the plain background shows just how much the boy has grown. Soon enough he will be too big for his dad to even pick up!
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.
Finally, the boy has grown up enough to start wearing pants. You can really start to see the resemblance between father and son now as the son begins to pose just like dad.
In general, 1994 was a wild year. If you put aside the bad things like Kurt Cobain dying and O.J. Simpson’s trial, you also get the release of incredible films like Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Shawshank Redemption.
It looks like the son here had quite the growth spurt! He can’t even button up his pants now. Neither seem to mind though and look happy and content after spending nine years seeing the world together.
Halfway through the 1990s and it seems like things aren’t exactly looking up. The not-guilty verdict arrived for O.J. Simpson which led to public outcry, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building, 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.