Every parent knows that their kids grow up so fast. It’s important to capture as many memories as possible, because once they’re adults, they’re going to be out of the house and living their own life.
Well, this father and daughter made sure to capture as many moments as possible — 35 to be exact. Every year, Hua Yunqing and his daughter, Hua Hua, have taken the same photo in the exact same spot on the bank of Yinghu Lake. The photos see Hua’s growth throughout her life, and his daughter’s growth from a baby into a mother of two.
1980: The Very Beginning
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
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
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
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.
Read on to see how Hua Hua’s style has evolved.
1984: The First Color Photograph
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
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
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.
Read on to see how Hua Hua’s haircuts have changed over the years.
1987: Hua Hua Is In The Second Grade
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?
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
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
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
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.
Keep reading to see how these two navigate the rest of the 90s.
1992: She’s Almost As Tall As Her Father
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
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
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
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
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.
Read on to see how Hua Hua exited her awkward teenage phase.
1997: They Grow Up So Fast
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
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
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
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
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.
Keep reading to see how technology changed in the new millennium.
2003: A Style Overhaul
Hua Hua died 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
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
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
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.
Keep reading to meet a new addition to the Yunqing family.
2007: And Then There Were Three
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
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
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.
Keep reading to meet one more addition to this little crew.
2010: Three Generations In One Shot
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
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
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
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.”