Four Sisters Take The Same Photo For 40 Years—And The Results Are Heartwarming

It can sometimes feel like life is flying by and you’re not taking time out of your day to document how much you appreciate the people around you. That’s not an issue for the Brown sisters.

Photographer Nicholas Nixon, the husband to Bebe Brown, took a photo of his wife and her three sisters Heather, Mimi, and Laurie, in 1975. Instead of just stopping there, the sisters and Nixon decided to turn the family photo into a project and meet up every year for 40 years to take the same photo. I’m glad they did because these beautiful photos truly show how family is forever.

1975, The Sisters Begin Their Journey

four sisters 1975
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Nixon and the Browns started off their photo journey in 1975—the year Jaws swept American film audiences off their feet. A theme in Nixon’s project that stays consistent is that he offers no caption for the photo other than the date and location.

This allows the audience to speculate about who the sisters grow up to be and where their lives take them. Here, from left to right is Heather, Mimi, Bebe, and Laurie. The sisters were (in no particular order) twenty-five, twenty-three, fifteen, and twenty-one.

1976, Saw Some Matching Happening

1976 four sisters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Whether the sisters are aware of it or not, they often match for these photos. They often choose to wear clothes with similar cuts, prints, and styles. However, Laurie and Bebe look like they’re wearing the exact same dress.

They could’ve done this as a joke—which shows an unexpectedly playful side of the sisters in these serious portraits. This goes in line with the comical nature of the year since, in ’76, BBC convinced listeners that a planetary alignment would decrease gravity on earth shortly. Many called in saying they felt it.

1977, Do You Think The Sisters Were Star Wars Fans?

sisters in 1977
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

In 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, was released to box office acclaim and many Americans were caught up in the fandom fever. “May the force be with you” was one of the most popular quotes of the year.

I can’t see any Star Wars merchandise on the sisters, nor any Princess Leia hair buns, but they could’ve very well been fans of the series. Reportedly, the future director of Titanic, James Cameron, quit his job as a truck driver after seeing the movie.

1978, The Sisters Probably Saw Grease

the four sisters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

In 1978, the memorable John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John movie Grease came out and took America by storm. So did National Lampoon’s Animal House—much to the chagrin of many parents.

I can’t see if the sisters are wearing leather pants, but they very well could be there. Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac were also immensely popular during this time, so the sisters could’ve very well been into the more bohemian scene than the Grease one.

1979, On The Brink Of A New Decade

the brown sisters in 1979
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

The sisters were gearing up to ring in the new decade by taking another commemorative photo. The top song of the year in ’79 was My Sharona by The Knack, so they could’ve very well been listening to it as they posed.

It’s so interesting to see that, even 40 years later, the outfits the women are wearing are still fashions you could see someone wearing today. It just goes to show that neither style nor sisterly love has changed all that much.

1980, The Brown Sisters Looked Joyful Here

four sisters 1980
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Instead of photographing the women in the serious way that he had been doing, Nixon seems to have caught the women in a moment they were enjoying each other’s company.

I wonder if they were celebrating a happy event and that’s the reason for the switch up? Maybe there was a wedding or a graduation happening in a sister’s life. We’ll never know, but it’s nice to see them happy.

1981, These Women Were Probably Thinking About Working As Adults

brown sisters 1981four
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

It’ll blow your mind, but the minimum wage back in 1981 was $3.10/hour. Today, for comparison, it’s $7.25. The Brown sisters, all in their 20s, except for Bebe, could’ve all been working minimum wage jobs at the time of the photo.

For comparison, a bag of Lays chips was $1.98 back then and today they’re $2.98. So minimum wage more than doubled and Lays chips went up 50%. It’s good to see our wages are increasing as the costs of living are too.

1982, It Looked Like A Cold Day For The Browns

four sisters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

A fun fact about 1982 is that Sony Walkmans were about $130. This is crazy if you think about it, since today, Sony’s MP3 Walkman players range anywhere from $100-$4000.

We can clearly see that the Brown sisters are all bundled up in winter gear here, so it’s interesting that Nixon chose to shoot them outside on a cold day. Maybe they were vacationing this time and he wanted to capture the moment and thought the chilly photo was fitting for his collection.

1983, Jenga Was Introduced—Do You Think They Were Playing It?

four sisters photo
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

In 1983, Jenga, that iconic toppling stacking block game, was introduced at the London Toy Fair. I wonder if the Brown sisters heard about the new toy and wanted to get their hands on it. I’m also curious who’d be the best at Jenga.

I really enjoy what Nixon has the sister’s doing here—having Heather and Laurie closer to the camera in a semi-circle gives the effect like the viewer is a part of the women’s conversation. It’s a unique way to communicate how personal these photos are.

1984, We Can Almost See Nixon

four sisters photo on beach
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Today it looks like we’ve interrupted the sisters during a day at the beach—see the sand and water behind them? This is one of the only photographs where we can almost see what Nixon looks like. I wonder why he chose to include a shadowy version of himself in this sunny photo?

An interesting fact about 1984 is that Baby on Board stickers in cars had just begun to gain popularity since they help emergency workers identify babies in emergency situations.

1985, It’s Been An Entire Decade Of Photos!

four sisters in trees
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

It’s crazy to think, but the Brown sisters and Nixon have been at this project for an entire decade! The sisters are now (in no particular order) thirty-five, thirty-three, twenty-five, and thirty-one. How time flies!

Another crazy piece of history from that year was that this was the year that “New Coke” was introduced by Coca Cola. It lasted until 2002—thankfully, they haven’t discontinued my favorite yet, Cherry Coke.

1986, Up Close And Personal

four sisters in a photo booth
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Instead of showing us a full picture of the sister’s 80s fashion, Nixon takes the viewer up close and personal with the sisters. They all look pretty happy too—I wonder if something good happened that they can’t wait to tell the viewer about.

The top song this year was the hit, That’s what friends are for by Dionne Warwick. It’s an awesome song, but photos like these make me wonder if they should release a sister-themed version…

1987, Mimi And Bebe Take Center Stage

four sisters in a family photo
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I’m curious what Nixon’s motive was here for placing his wife Bebe (right) and Mimi the closest to the camera in this shot. Maybe it was a big year for the two of them—if only we knew what, and if, they were celebrating.

This fun fact about ’87 will make you happy—a can of Campbell’s soup was priced at 99 cents. Luckily, inflation didn’t work its magic totally and we can often still find these for this price today.

1988, ’80s Prints Coming In Strong

brown sisters 80s fashion
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Look at Laurie! she’s rocking the cheetah print! This is the only hint of the signature ’80s bold patterns and prints that we’ve seen the sisters participate in. I’m glad she wore this shirt—though, I’d like to know what color the cheetah print is. I’m hoping for neon pink.

This year the movie Rain Man was released—I wonder if any of the women went to see it. They might not have seen Scooby-Doo though since the animated movies went on a brief hiatus due to bad audience reception.

1989, Heather Was Hiding

brown sisters black and white
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Heather’s hiding in the background, almost completely hidden by Mimi in the foreground. I wonder if she could’ve been pregnant in the photo and Nixon didn’t want to show that. If that’s the case, maybe his reasoning was keep the viewers from drawing assumptions about their lives outside of the photos.

The Sony Walkman also decreased in price this year—shooting down from $130 in 1982 to $79 in 1989. Personally, I wish they would’ve stayed that cheap.

1990, It Was A Cold Day At The Beginning Of The Decade

four sisters outside
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Not only is it the start to the greatest and “grungiest” decade yet, but it also saw the sisters embracing each other on a cold winter day. I like how, despite all of them being individuals, they sometimes wear similar things that subtly show their sisterly bond. Today, it’s Mimi and Bebe in denim and Heather and Laurie in fleece.

1990 was the year that the first crash between two cars with airbags occurred. Both drivers walked away with minor injuries in a crash that would’ve been fatal without airbags.

1991, You Can Really Tell They’re Sisters Here

four women in a photo
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Sometimes, when people are younger, it can be harder to see family resemblances. But now that the Brown sisters have been taking these photos for over 15 years, you can really start to see how similar they look. I’m having trouble telling Mimi, Heather, and Laurie apart.

The hit 1991 Nirvana song (do you think the Brown women liked Nirvana?) Smells Like Teen Spirit was named after an actual deodorant. Apparently, Kurt Cobain’s girlfriend wore “Teen Spirit.”

1992, Could Mimi Be Pregnant?

four women wearing stripesand dots
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that Nixon seems very specific with the way that he wants the Brown women posed. It seems like he wants to give the audience clues about what the sister’s lives are like without being obvious about it.

The way that Heather is holding and looking at Mimi’s stomach makes me think that she might be pregnant. Laurie also seems to be looking at Mimi too, which makes me think Nixon is dropping clues Mimi is the one in focus here. We’ll never know though…

1993, Looks Like The Browns Stayed Up Late For This Shot

crew necks and knits
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

While most of the pictures of the women look like they were taken in the middle of the day, this one looks like it was taken at night with a flash. The women look like they’re in light summer sweaters to stay warm as the sun sets.

Hopefully, this was a creative choice and not one that happened because Nixon couldn’t get a shot all day that he liked. I’m sure that’s not the case — after almost twenty years of photos, the sisters are definitely practiced models.

1994, The Women Cozied Up To The Cameras

four sisters in sweaters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

The sisters have taken a similar photo to this one! Back in 1986, eight years ago, Nixon posed the sisters in a close-up indoor shot like this one. I wonder if similar events happened those years or if they were visiting the same place.

A big event that happened in 1994 was that at Woodstock, Green Day was performing and they started a massive mud fight. The band and the stage was so covered in mud that guitarist Mike Dirnt was mistaken for a fan, thrown off-stage, and lost teeth after being punched by a security guard. Maybe the Browns attended.

1995, Big Hugs All Around

four women sisters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Something I’ve noticed about Nixon is that he’s careful not to show the sisters with a lot of jewelry on—specifically wedding rings. Even though he’s married to Bebe, we haven’t seen her wearing her ring in many years, if at all. Maybe she lost it?

A not-so-fun fact about the year is that 37 Americans were killed by vending machines falling over onto them. Maybe this number would be reduced if machines would finally accept bills that are slightly wrinkled.

1996 Featured Some Dramatic Lighting

four sisters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Back in 1984, the Browns took a similar photo where Nixon’s shadow appeared on them. 12 years later, that’s the case again! I’m curious why Nixon chose this year to present himself again, and what the meaning behind his shadow almost covering his wife Bebe’s face is.

To many parent’s chagrin, in 1996, “Tickle Me Elmo” was introduced into the market. I’m sure I don’t have to remind many parents, that day is already engraved in their minds.

1997, The Year Princess Diana Passed

four sisters in black
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

This photo looks like the sisters are a folk band or pop stars with windswept hair. Though, I’m sure nobody actually hauled a wind machine to wherever they took this photo.

This is the same year that Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris. I wonder if the reason why the sisters are dressed in black and monochrome colors is that they’re fans of the royals and had recently heard the sad news.

1998, Bebe Is Featured Front And Center

four sisters together
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I think it’s beautiful how the three sisters look like they’re rallying around Bebe and supporting her as she stands front and center. They all look happy, except for Mimi. Maybe Nixon has just said something she’s objecting too.

It’s crazy to think, but this year was the first year that US female life expectancy had reached 79.5! Before, for a few decades, female life expectancy had been hovering around 78. Male life expectancy in 1998 was at 73.8.

1999, It Was A Windy Morning

four sisters hugging
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

The Brown sisters are back at the beach! They’ve returned once again to the beach they first visited in the photos back in 1984—except this time it’s a little chillier. I wonder if this is a popular family vacation spot for the Browns.

Speaking of vacation, the popular fisherman’s trip memorabilia “Big Mouth Billy Bass” the singing fish was introduced. Hopefully, the sisters weren’t subjected to its repetitive and monotone singing at their vacation cottage.

2000, Happy New Century!

four sisters posed together
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

To celebrate the new century, Nixon takes us back to another shot of the sisters on the beach. This is the farthest away he’s taken a photo in years. Maybe the distance is to symbolize how far the project has come—25 years!

The world population finally hit 6 billion this year! It had been creeping up to the number for decades but hadn’t quite crossed the boundary. It’s only fitting that the new number would come with a new century.

2001, Where Were The Sisters During 9/11?

tropical print brown
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

9/11 was the biggest and saddest world-changing event that happened on American soil that year. Nixon’s photographs show us that though we may never forget, life still goes on.

It looks like the sisters were caught on a beach vacation with both Heather and Laurie wearing Hawaiian-esque shirts. I think the happiness of these vacationing sisters and the way they’re embracing each other here is a beautiful reminder, especially in 2001, that we should cherish each other while we can.

2002, Polo Was Apparently The “It-Shirt”

brown sisters in polo shirts
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Maybe a Ralph Lauren store had just opened up in the Brown sister’s town, or maybe they all wanted to dress similarly to show their bond. Whatever the reason, they all rocked a polo this year, with the exception of Heather.

Remember me talking about “New Coke” that was introduced back in 1986? Well, in 2002, after 16 years, it was discontinued and Coke brought back “Coca Cola Classic.” I wonder if the Browns liked it.

2003, Spot Heather’s Techy New Cell Phone And Mimi’s New Hair!

four sisters in the early 2000s
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I think it’s great that not only do we get a snapshot into the Brown sister’s respective lives with these photos, but we also get a little picture of how far technology has come. Check out Heather’s flip phone! Today that thing would be considered a fossil.

An interesting technological fact is that the original Dunkin donut came with a handle for dipping into coffee. It was discontinued in 2002 because it had to be made by hand (and not machines).

2004, Shoreline Staredown

brown sisters shoreside
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I wonder what Laurie is looking over at Heather for? I think this is the first time these two have been so front and center in a photograph together. Maybe it was a big year for the two women—career, family, or hobby-wise.

You’re going to love this news—remember when I said that Campbell’s soup cost 99 cents in 1987? Well, in 2002 the price dropped down to 79 cents. That’s one heck of a cheap meal.

2005, Laurie’s Looking Away Again

four sisters sitting together
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Laurie’s really been keeping an eye out these past few years for her sisters. Honestly, that’s really sweet of her to do and a great way for Nixon to show how protective over her sisters Laurie is. At least, that’s what I’m assuming the photo communicates.

Maybe she’s keeping an eye out for people wearing colanders on their heads since in 2005, the religion “Pastafarianism, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” was founded and its members wear colanders.

2006, It’s A Sunny Day Wherever The Browns Are

sunset brown sisters
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Seeing these loving sisters seriously brightens my day, and it looks like I’m not the only one! Even the sunshine takes a liking to these awesome women since it’s shining down so brightly on them in this close-up.

Do you remember when Blu Rays replaced DVDs? Well, that happened in 2006. You can thank Blu Rays for the high-quality streaming you’re watching since they can store five times more information than DVDs.

2007, Mimi Hides While Heather and Bebe Stand Proud

four sisters outside
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

The sisters have shuffled again. This time it’s Bebe and Heather in the front while Mimi and Laurie hang out in the background. I’m loving how confident Bebe looks with her assertive stance (and pretty bracelet).

It’s crazy to think that so much of this article has been comparing the price of the Sony Walkman—because a new player has arrived. In 2006, the first iPhone was introduced and sold for $599. They’re much more expensive today.

2008, We Got A Sister Snuggle And Nixon’s Fingertips

four sisters squinting in sun
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I love how intimate and sweet this photo of the four of them looks in this. You can really see how time hasn’t broken down their bond and I love how Nixon has captured that here. Also, he probably inadvertently captured his own fingertips.

Also, funnily enough, after years of public education on the subject, the NOAA recommends walking to safety in the event of a lightning storm instead of crouching.

2009, The Sisters Look Peaceful Together

four women leaning together
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I think it’s really precious how Laurie’s head is resting on Bebe. Hers and all the other sister’s close body language just show how close they are with one another.

While the sisters are relaxing in each other’s presence, the song Teach Me How To Dougie by musician Cali Swag District topped music charts and is still one of the most popular dance songs in the entire world.

2010, The Sisters Gazed Off, All Except Bebe

four sisters staring into sunset
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

I’d love to know what Heather, Mimi, and Laurie are looking at and why Bebe Doesn’t feel like taking a glance. When you remember that her husband is behind the camera, I think it’s sweet that she’s the one still looking on lovingly.

Strangely enough, Moriusaq, Greenland, a settlement on the island country had a population of three until 2010. That’s when a self-defense case dropped the population down to two. There’s nobody living there now and Greenland considers the settlement “closed.”

2011, Heather Seems To Like Holding Mimi’s Arm Up

big group hug
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Sisters are always finding ways to grab and nitpick at each other—and this photo just proves that! A funny little trend in the photos maybe Nixon hasn’t noticed is that Heather seems to like putting her hand in Mimi’s armpit. It definitely makes for an entertaining photo.

While the Brown sisters were being funny, the abbreviations “OMG” and “LOL” were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011 as official words. So if anyone ever corrects you on using them, you can proudly say it’s proper English.

2012, The World Didn’t End, Thankfully

sisters looking serious
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

Despite the rumors and the pop culture hype about the world ending in 2012 because of a Nostradamus prediction, the world kept on going, which wasn’t very surprising to many. I’m glad the sisters didn’t buy into the Doomsday rumors and still took their annual photo.

An interesting foodie fact is that before 2012, kale wasn’t the trendy salad food we know it as now. In fact, in the US the biggest kale buyer was Pizza Hut, which they used as a garnish on their salad bars. But not in the actual salads.

2013, The Sisters Take A Little Break

big hug last photo
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube
Photo Credit: Paulo Moura / YouTube

It’s never explained why, in accordance with Nixon’s photo style, but after 2013 the sisters took a break from taking photos for the next four years. There must have been a good reason for the break, especially since this would be their 39th photo.

This year was also the year of a different kind of resignation—Pope Benedict XVI resigned in 2013 and became the first Pope to step down in almost 600 years.

Resuming The Project For Photo #40 In 2017

four women together last photo
Photo Credit: @mittsnitt / Twitter
Photo Credit: @mittsnitt / Twitter

After not taking a photo for quite a few years, the sisters reunited in 2017 to snap what would be their 40th photo for this touching project.

Nicholas Nixon’s photos of the Brown sisters continue to inspire and touch the hearts of people who see them—even 40 years after they started. Their project is a testament to sisterhood, love, and the trials we all face in life. I’m thankful I was able to witness their beauty.

1980: The Very Beginning

1980
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

This is the first photo that Hua Yunqing and his daughter, Hua Hua, took in front of this river while they were on holiday in Zhenjiang, China’s Jiangsu province. This was the photo that started it all.

After getting this picture developed (they used film back then), Hua knew he wanted to create something like a time capsule for his daughter. It was his idea to return to this spot year after year and take a photo each time.

1981: Hua Hua Is Two Years Old

1981
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

So, dedicated to his project, Hua Yunqing brought his family back to Zhenjiang in 1981. He and Hua Hua stood in the same spot, and somebody, most likely Hua Hua’s mother, snapped this photo of them.

Hua Hua looks more alert in this photo. She’s smiling at the camera and proudly holding her father’s hand. She’s sporting an adorable pixie cut, and Hua, at age 27, is looking as young and as fresh as he did at 26.

1982: Not Much Has Changed

1982
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua is three years old in this photo. She’s wearing the very same dress that she wore the year before. She’s smiling at the camera, but this time, she’s not holding her father’s hand. Hua Hua has grown more independent. She’s still rocking the same haircut, but she has more life experience now. She is three, after all.

Hua is striking a proud pose. It’s hard to raise a three-year-old, and Hua should be proud of all of his hard work.

1983: Growing Taller Every Year

1983
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua’s hair is a little bit longer in this photograph. She’s four years old here, and she’s still very much into those ruffled shirts (or whoever is dressing her is into those ruffled shirts).

Hua looks calm and happy. 1983 must have been a good year for him and his family. This is the first picture in the series in which you can see that pagoda in the background. Keep an eye out for it in later photographs.

1984: The First Color Photograph

1984
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

This is the first color photograph in this photo series, so Hua must have invested in a new camera. You can see that pagoda in the background in full color now, although the background colors are still kind of hazy.

Hua Hua is wearing a bright magenta dress, a white visor, and she has a pair of sunglasses propped up on her forehead. Hua looks like a very respectable father in his white buttondown shirt.

1985: Time For A Swim

1985
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua is six years old in this photo and she’s still wearing ruffles, but this time the ruffles are on a navy and white polka-dotted bathing suit. Hua has taken off his signature button-down collared shirt for this photo.

These two look like they’re having the best time splashing around in the river, and they even have matching swimming goggles. Hua Hua looks very different from how she looked in that first photograph, but Hua hasn’t aged a day.

1986: The Year Of The Bowl Cut

1986
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

The year is 1986 and Hua Hua’s lovely pixie cut has somehow morphed into a bowl cut. Hey, it is the 80s after all. She clearly still has a thing for ruffles and that white dress is positively angelic on her.

The red ribbon adds a pop of color, and it might even make the bowl cut look high-fashion. Dad is still rocking his signature watch, plus he’s sporting some very cool shades in this photo.

1987: Hua Hua Is In The Second Grade

1987
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua is eight years old in this photo, and she’s probably started grade school at this stage in her life. She looks older and wiser, and she doesn’t have a bowl cut anymore. She’s not wearing any ruffles either.

She’s still adding a pop of red to her outfit though, this time with a red hairband and red color-blocking throughout her dress. Dad looks pretty much the same, although the way the light is hitting his sunglasses makes them look a lot more Elton John-y in this photo.

1988: What Is Dad Wearing?

1988
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua looks lovely in this photo. She’s cut her hair short again and she’s back to the ruffles, but she looks taller and more mature than before. Hua, well, those mom shorts are not doing him any favors.

I’m going to give him a pass because it was the 80s and because he took a fashion risk with the hat (that may have actually paid off). Hey, at least he’s not wearing socks with those sandals.

1989: Dad Got Some New Glasses

1989
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

We spoke too soon about that whole socks and sandals issue. At least the short shorts are gone, though. Hua Hua is rocking a middle part in this photo that suits her so much better than the bowl cut. Those side-swept bangs are definitely ahead of their time.

Her matching shirt and shorts outfit is preppy in a good way. She looks very put together, and I’m impressed that they both can wear white to the river without getting their clothes dirty.

1990: A New Decade

1990
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Look at these two striking matching poses! It’s been a decade since Hua Hua and her father took their first picture in front of this river together when Hua Hua was just a year old. Time goes by so quickly when you’re having fun.

Hua Hua and her father are both wearing sunglasses in this picture, although Hua seems to have gotten a new pair. Also, these longer khaki shorts are much better than those old jean ones.

1991: Check Out Those Electronics

1991
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua and his daughter really are living in the future now. It’s 1991 and Hua has a pager strapped to his belt. Hua Hua also appears to be holding some kind of portable tape player. She left her earphones in for the photo.

It’s crazy how you can track the progress of time in these pictures. Even though Hua Hua is twelve years old now, she still loves wearing cartoon characters on her clothing. That isn’t Winnie the Pooh, by the way.

1992: She’s Almost As Tall As Her Father

1992
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua is thirteen years old in this photo and Hua is thirty nine. Hua Hua is wearing two little clips in her hair and it looks like she’s wearing a lanyard with keys on it around her neck. Hua still looks very official in his trousers and white dress shirt.

Hua Hua is almost as tall as her father in this photo. We’ll have to keep going through the pictures to find out if she ever grows to be taller than him.

1993: Blowing In The Wind

1993
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua’s hair is definitely blowing in the wind in this photo. Fun fact, Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ In The Wind” came out exactly thirty years before this photo was taken. What are the chances that these two take a windblown picture the year of that song’s thirtieth anniversary? Pretty high, actually.

Hua Hua is starting to look more and more like her father. In this photo, you can see that these two have very similar profiles.

1994: Hua Hua Starts High School

1994
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua is fifteen years old in this photo, which means that she had already started high school at the time this photo was taken. Hua Hua has entered the awkward teenage phase of life. She’s wearing glasses and braces, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She’s still smiling and having a good time with her family.

I’m not sure that those red pants and that Las Vegas shirt would be considered fashionable now, but it was definitely in style in the ’90s.

1995: Holding The Hat Was A Good Choice

1995
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua is actually wearing a tie in this photo. That’s new. The brown belt is also a touch fancier than the belts we’ve seen him wear in the past. Maybe he had an important meeting that day or something.

Hua Hua is wearing some kind of jean jumper— again, very ’90s. That hat is also very of the decade, but we’re glad that she decided to hold it in this photo rather than wear it.

1996: No More Braces

1996
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua got her braces off! She had them on for a good two years, which is a long time to have braces. We’re loving that pink floral shirt tucked into a pair of high waisted jeans. This is the kind of ’90s look that could still be in style today.

Hua looks exactly like he did in the photo taken the year before, only his tie is a different color. He’s even giving us the same smile.

1997: They Grow Up So Fast

1997
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

This photo was taken in 1997, which means that Hua Hua is eighteen years old in this photo and Hua Yunqing is forty-four. Hua Hua is on the brink of adulthood. She’s grown out her hair, she’s wearing more conservative, grown-up dresses, and she’s worked those glasses into her personal style pretty seamlessly.

Hua is still in his tie phase, but this is a floral tie, which is especially funky. They both look very dapper.

1999: The Turn Of The Millenium

1999
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

1998 was the only year that Hua Hua and her father weren’t able to take their annual photograph because Hua Hua was in school abroad. She didn’t join her family on holiday. That brings us all the way to 1999, the year before Y2K.

Hua Hua has her hair crimped and she’s wearing an entirely red outfit. Hua Yunqing seems to have a pretty high tech camera in that bag (or high tech for 1999).

2000: What A Thick Tie

2000
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

We’re going to talk about the new millennium and Hua Hua’s bangs in a minute, but first of all, what is going on with that thick as heck tie? That is the widest tie I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m pretty sure wide ties weren’t “in” in 2000, so I don’t know where he got that thing…

Anyway, Hua Hua has bangs now and they look amazing on her. She’s 21 in this photo, so she’s old enough to drink in pretty much any country. Also, Hua Hua is on the right now for some reason…

2001: Hua Looks Like A Cool Dad

2001
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua’s Louis Vuitton bag is the most 2001 thing in this photo. Hua Yunqing’s jeans are still stuck in the ’90s, but you know what, that ’90s style is back in now so I think he’s actually ahead of his time. We’re loving the Tommy Hilfiger polo.

This is the longest that Hua Hua’s hair has ever been. The long locks look good on her, but we’ll see if they stick around for the next few years.

2002: She’s Not A Little Girl Anymore

2002
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua looks like a real professional lady in her business casual outfit. She’s invested in some kind of curling iron, plus she’s wearing makeup now. I think this is what we call the glow-up shot. 2002 was a good year for Hua Hua.

Her father looks as young as ever in this photo even though he’s actually 49 in this picture. This guy doesn’t look a day over thirty. He’s still rocking those polo shirts. Some things never change.

2003: A Style Overhaul

2003
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua dyed her hair an auburn red in 2003 and I’m not mad about it. I actually think her hair color looks great with that nude colored dress she has on. Hua Yunqing has finally changed out of those polo shirts. He’s wearing a classic white tee and blue jeans combo and it is everything.

Most men wished they looked this good at fifty. Why did it take him so long to where a tee shirt on vacation?

2004: A Major Growth Spurt

2004
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

It looks like Hua Hua did actually grow to be taller than her father. Or maybe they’re the same height but he’s just leaning back a little bit. Either way, Hua Hua is way taller now than when we first met her. She’s developed her own sense of style and she certainly has an extensive handbag collection.

Hua Yunqing has gone back to the polos, but he’s putting his own spin on them. I guess he doesn’t like to mess with a good thing.

2005: What A Camera

2005
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua looks super stylish in this photo. The pattern on that dress is amazing. Let’s talk about her father’s camera for a minute though. Why wasn’t this picture taken with that giant Canon DSLR? Why is he holding it while someone is taking this photo with another, inferior camera?

Anyway, Hua Hua’s eyebrows are on fleek and that’s all that really matters. I’m just amazed that she had the good sense not to overpluck her eyebrows in the mid 2000s.

2006: Back To The Short Haircut

2006
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

This is the first photo in which Hua’s looked like he’s aged even a little bit. He looks older in this photo (because he is older), but we think age looks great on him. He just looks a little bit wiser and a little bit more refined.

Hua Hua has cut her hair shorter again, and she’s holding yet another handbag. I don’t think we’ve seen a handbag show up more than once in this photo series. Every year she’s holding a new one. You do you, girl.

2007: And Then There Were Three

2007
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

In 2007, Hua Hua gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Of course, this baby had to be included in the family tradition. Hua Yunqing now had a daughter and a granddaughter, and the three of them could now be a part of something larger than themselves.

Now that there’s another generation involved, who knows how long this tradition could continue for. Hua looks like he’s loving the grandpa life. That baby is way too cute.

2008: Watching Another Little Girl Grow Up

2008
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Yunqing and his daughter had so much fun documenting their lives in annual photographs that they thought they would do the same for Hua Hua’s child. From now on, she will be included in every yearly photo in this spot.

Hua Hua has traded in her stylish handbags for an equally stylish diaper bag, and this baby girl is the best-dressed person in this photo. She must get her sense of fashion from her mother.

2009: Growing Older Every Day

2009
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

It must have been cold by the lake this year because Hua is wearing a jacket and Hua Hua and her daughter are wearing sweaters. If you look at the lake behind them it kind of looks like it was raining that day too.

Rain or shine, this family is always smiling. Hua Hua is back to her old handbag habit, and there’s even some strange blue stuffed creature that’s making a cameo in this photo.

2010: Three Generations In One Shot

2010
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

Hua Hua doesn’t look a day over 20 in this photo even though she’s actually thirty one here. That little girl is about three years old in this photo, and she looks just like Hua Hua looked when she was three. Now this little girl can look back at all the photos of her mother growing up.

Hua Yunqing is wearing a pink polo shirt, which we haven’t seen him in before. These three look like they’re enjoying life.

2011: Another New Addition

2011
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

And baby makes four! In 2011, Hua Hua gave birth to another baby girl. This family is getting larger and more full of love every year. That baby is absolutely adorable, and Hua Hua and her older daughter look like twins in their matching striped dresses.

Hua Yunqing looks so happy to have not one, but two granddaughters in his life. I love how the older girl is holding on to her little sister’s foot.

2012: Fun In The Sun

2012
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

That little girl in Hua Yunqing’s arms was an infant just one year ago, and now she almost two years old. Now there’s another child to join in this charming family tradition. When speaking about his collection of photos, Hua said, “each time I look at these pictures, I couldn’t help crying. As I can feel love, lots of love.”

The love in these photos is absolutely palpable. Hua has raised a wonderful daughter who has gone on to raise a family of her own.

2013: Matchy Matchy

2013
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing
Photo Credit: Hua Yunqing

We love how Hua Hua and her two daughters are all wearing the same shade of light blue. These three clearly operate as a team. It looks like Hua Hua’s oldest daughter has a thing for handbags too, just like her mother.

Hua is fifty-nine in this photo. So much time has passed since he took that picture of Hua Hua as a one-year-old by this very river in 1980. Hua has said, “it’s a memory. When I look at the pictures, I feel I have a time machine.”