Husband and Wife Take Photobooth Photo Every Year Since They Met 22 Years Ago

A married couple who have posed together for a picture in a photobooth every year since they first met 22 years ago have gone viral after sharing the heartwarming results online.

In an age of smartphones and social media, it can be easy to forget the power that lies in a single photograph. Capable of communicating so much without saying a single word, photographs connect us to people, places and a past that feels like only yesterday.

They can tell a story or simply convey a feeling in a way unlike any other medium.

For U.K. couple Giles and Michelle Paley-Phillips, this particular set of photos tells a story of their love and life spent together. A life that intertwined from an early age but blossomed into something more when they met again years later.

Giles told Newsweek: "We'd known one another since we were a lot younger growing up in the same town, but it wasn't till she was 18 and I was 22 that we met again one night in a club and got talking."

He recalled the first photobooth picture being a spontaneous one.

"We were on one of our first dates and we were catching the train home and we spotted the photobooth and thought it would be fun to mark the occasion," Giles said.

"Even though it was a new relationship we both felt it was something special."

A year later, Giles and Michelle found themselves at the very same photo booth at the very same station in Brighton, East Sussex. "It just seemed meant to be," he said.

Much has changed for the couple in the years since. They now have two sons together, Elijah, 14, and Sonny, 12, while Giles is an award-winning author and podcaster.

One thing has remained constant though. Every year, without fail, the family gathers for the photobooth picture. Elijah's first appearance as a baby came in the ninth edition of the photo, with Sonny joining the clan a year later.

Since then the photographs have charted the two boys' development alongside their pleased-as-punch parents. A poignant portrait of family life, the pictures entered the public consciousness after Giles shared a snap chronicling the entire collection on Twitter.

The tweet generated a huge response. At the time of writing, it had earned over 3,600 retweets and 75,000 likes, with Giles and Michelle's simple yet powerful tradition touching the hearts of so many on social media.

Commenting on the collection, KingyMunyuro wrote: "I never thought i could get this emotional over tweet... your tweet has connected to a lot of hearts." Television presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar commented: "I love this tradition you have. It's so beautiful. A happy and gorgeous family."

Botty_Cello agreed, writing: "This is genuinely a lovely thing to have done," whole w00kiegirl said it was "one of the most romantic things I have seen in a while." Christi_784 added: "So lovely, cherish every moment, best years of your life." "Love this idea," Lizmacb1 commented. "A real snapshot into your life. Keep it going!"

Giles puts the viral success of the tweet down to its underlying message. "I think because it's such a positive story, particularly on Twitter which can be so noisy and angry," he said. "It's just a bit of an antidote to that."

Though they have posed for 22 different pictures together first as a couple and then as a family, Giles does have a couple of standout favorites. "I think that first one of all of us in the booth," said. "Obviously we've all been through lots of changes over the years, but there's also been lots of changes in the world over the last two years. Last year we marked that by wearing our masks in the picture."

Giles and his family have no plans on stopping the annual tradition and he would encourage others to take up something similar. "Family traditions are a wonderful thing, and should always be encouraged," he said. "This definitely makes us feel together."

The romantic gesture comes hot on the heels of similarly heartwarming stories like the one detailing how two people working side-by-side during the pandemic found love together.

Another recent romantic highlight saw one man transform his bathroom into a beach for his partner with magical results.

Giles and Michelle Paley Phillips.
Giles and Michelle Paley Phillips - since meeting 22 years ago, the couple have made it a tradition to pose for a photo booth picture. Giles Paley-Phillips/Twitter