Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Awkward Family Photos by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack

Everyone who lived through the 70's and 80's has one or more of "those pictures" in the family photo album. You know, one of those pictures that seemed fine at the time you were taking it, but you look back on it now and the only thing that goes through your mind was "What was I (or they) thinking? Was everyone on drugs when this was being taken? How could they not know how hideous this looks? Did they actually want to preserve THIS as a family memory?!" From pictures of the entire family wearing outfits cut from the same ugly cloth, a picture of a girl who had literally peed her pants, or wet spots on the front crotch of a young man's jeans, the amount of embarrassing pictures that were immortalized in print pretty much approaches infinity.

And that's where Mike Bender and Doug Chernack come in. For they have taken the very worst of these pictures submitted to their website- awkward family photos dot com, and put them out in book form (and as a game as well) to show you that perhaps that ugly or hideous family photo in your own album might not be so bad (or if it is that bad... or even worse, you can always submit it to the site and know that at least someone is getting a chuckle out of it, and it's bringing humor to the world!) and you can take heart that there are far, far worse ones out there.

The book starts with family photos of the entire clan, moves on to mom and Dad, the kids, Grandma and Grandpa, the other relatives, Pets, and then things like Holidays. While some of the photos are just strange, a good many cross over the line to the point where your jaw will be hanging open, especially in the holiday photo section. One of the Easter Photos makes me think that the child in the picture must have been traumatized for life. It's truly that horrifying. And then there are the vacation pictures and the wedding pictures that are equally as bad.

Everyone takes bad pictures, but this book goes beyond bad to the truly horrifying. You will definitely wonder what the people who took those pictures were thinking, or if, indeed, they did think before pointing and clicking. Even more horrifying is the fact that many of these pictures were professionally taken, and are still plenty horrifying.

But these pictures allow us to laugh at the 70's and 80's, and the pictures we were all taking back then. Especially bad offenders are 80's dance togs, 70's suits and tuxedos (powder blue,anyone?) and the ever-popular hairstyle for men and women: the mullet. Other bads including trying to dress everyone in the family in the same fashion/pattern and the "ghost technique of a picture in a picture" that was also more than popular back then not to mention all the fashion trends that make people shriek in horror (goth, "cowboy", bowl haircuts...).

This book may be full of really horrible pictures, but the fact remains that they are ripe for inspiring hilarity in anyone who sees them. The wonder is not that these pictures got taken (or saved), but that those who are in these pictures are willing to let others see and laugh at them, knowing that what they are doing is going to be questioned by anyone seeing them. This book is a laugh riot, and i have to give my thanks to those who were secure enough to let them go to be laughed at by anyone seeing them or reading the book. Highly recommended for a good laugh!

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