10 Awkward Family Portraits Not Suitable for Framing

We’ve all gone through an awkward stage – a stage where, if you could wipe the record clean of any evidence of your existence in those problematic years, you wouldn’t hesitate. 

They’ve reached levels of polyester-print once thought impossible.

We’ve all gone through an awkward stage – a stage where, if you could wipe the record clean of any evidence of your existence in those problematic years, you wouldn’t hesitate.  Thanks to your parents’ insistence on smiling for the cameras of a shopping mall photograph studio (Sears, Olan Mills), those days are preserved on photographic film for perpetuity – and now to be digitized for all the world to see.

My own parent’s home has a certain hallway we like to call the Walk of Shame.  On the eastern wall of this dark and bleak corridor hang portraits of myself and family that are simply not fit for human eyes.  I in my corduroy leisure suit, dad sporting his white-man’s afro, and mom wearing an expression so awkward it boggles the mind that this was determined to be the best of the bunch…  Down this walk, you pass photo after photo – it is almost impossible to make it to the end of the hall without crying.  It’s a humbling experience.

I think that’s why we love to look at other families’ cringeworthy photos – because we all have something like that Walk of Shame, and it’s nice to see we’re not alone.  So, let’s mock, point and laugh at some particularly rough studio photographs – acknowledge that we all had an awkward stage, our own Olan Mills Hall of Horrors that, thankfully, hasn’t made its way to the web… yet.

I had a Michael Jackson jacket (a red one), so I suppose I really can’t laugh too hard at this one.  The family is such a convergence of awkwardness – except for sis’ in the middle.  It’s like she’s Marilyn Munster – the only “normal” one in the family.  I also can’t help but point out that dad looks exactly like Hair Bear of The Hair Bear Bunch…


Why is nearly everyone leaning to one side?  Are they aboard a ship?  Or perhaps a natural aversion to dad. Take note of sister in back, who clearly wants to blend into the plaster and disappear.

Better snap the picture quick – dad’s button is ready to blow!  Hopefully, it didn’t crack the lens.  Also, sister clearly takes after dad’s predilection for tight waist fastenings.

Never mind the fact that mom looks to be a vampire ready to sink her teeth into the front row; let’s discuss Mr. Tinted Shades.  Would have been too much trouble to straighten the tie for the photo?  However, it does appear he was never much of a tie-wearer anyway, as the price tag is still hanging off.

There’s nothing worse than when Olan Mills tried to get fancy.  What they wanted: a heartwarming portrait of family of four.  What they got: Dad wants to kill himself thinking about his horrible family.

I know the look of someone who’s just realized he’s smoked too much weed.  That’s our boy at the top.  Meanwhile his bro’ is riding the crest of a healthy buzz, loving every minute of his Olan Mills experience.

Sure, dad feels the hurt in knowing his sperm wasn’t strong enough to sire a boy, but he’s working through it.

Evidently there was a sale on leisure suits at Montgomery Ward. Of all the bad fashions of the seventies, were there any that even compare to the godawfulness of the dreaded leisure suit?

Sadly, mother’s bizarre necklace was determined to be an ancient artifact; the entire family was cursed. On the bright side, only one of the girls joined the Manson Family.

There’s  just too much going on here – I can’t even.  Time to press “eject” – enough awkward family portraits for today.

But if you haven’t had quite enough, check out this post for further vintage cringe.

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