“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”
– Gloria Naylor



They say that friends are the family you choose, and I believe this to be true. I have been lucky, having shared with my little family of friends ten summers running. A few years back, one of my fondest friends started an inside joke that has perpetuated itself every year. Funke – while extremely intoxicated – declared at the top of his lungs that this would be “the summer of our lives”. We laughed, but held the sentiment close to our hearts. We pinned our hopes on having unforgettable summers together, each better than the last.

And so the record spins. Every year we sing the same chorus: “This is going to be the summer of our lives.” We did our best to live it up, having taken vacations and experienced new places together, much of which I have had the good fortune to document on film. But it seems that things have now begun to change. Against our better judgement, we are becoming full blown adults. We’ve paired off, jobs turned into careers, we grew up. Alas, maturity rears its ugly head!

House parties have gradually transitioned into more meaningful events. In the last year, we’ve attended two weddings, one of which was my own. And by the end of this summer, we’ll get piss drunk and bruised up twice more at going away parties for two of our closest companions, including Funke himself. The time has come, it seems, to say goodbye…

This essay is simply entitled “The Summer of Our Lives”. The photographs it contains are very personal images of my friends, my compatriots, my partners in crime… my family. It illustrates those trips and parties, our intimacies and attractions to one another. This is my farewell to the old times and my tribute to our finest attempts at the best summers ever.




Raised in Los Angeles, California; Robert Larson began working as a small town newspaper photographer in 2007 while learning his craft and thinking about a future as a documentary photographer. In subsequent years, he traveled the world, volunteering abroad with non-profit organizations such as Mercy Ships, The Red Cross and J/P HRO. It wasn’t until after documenting the death of his grandfather in 2009, that he decided to focus on personal photographic essays and story telling – rather than single images. Robert is represented by Getty Images; his work has been featured in The New York Times, Photo District News, Los Angeles Times and Lenscratch.com.

Robert lives in Atwater Village with his wife and two dogs.

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Robert Larson



8 thoughts on “Robert Larson – The Summer of Our Lives”

  1. Yeah, all of us were young and we had great summers with our friends! Your pictures recall me also those times with my friends: beach, alcohol, dancing, girls,…
    Now most of them are married and with children. But they are still my friends, although more than 20 years have passed; and we try to be toghether some times a year. Meetings are different, quieter, but they are good also.
    Maybe now you can show that change!. I´m sure you will do it in a great way.
    I´ve tried to photograph my friends, but they were not very dispose or they didn´t like to be photographed, so I value a lot your work.
    I like overall pictures 1, 4, 7, 11, 15, 17, 20. 11 is great!


  2. I do agree with Cesar , this could be an ongoing story .
    Do like the feel about it , not sure every photo is as relevant and you choose to highlight the good times so I miss some balance maybe .
    But then again I am European , we like the depressing stuff .
    My favorite is 19 .

  3. As a long term project, it would be interesting to shoot this reunion series every 5 years or so until you’re old and gray. Not necessarily a new concept, but perhaps a unique approach. It looks like a wild bunch to work with.

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  5. One of my favorites so far. Nothing abstract-real images of real people with what appears to be real friendship being real with each other. I like this a lot.

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