The more awkward the photo, the better

02/27/2011 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:02 AM

Depending on how well you all play along with my latest idea, I might — just might —publish "The Photo." The Photo features me at age 12, my giant smile revealing my pre-braces overbite.

My hair is styled in an odd she-mullet, which is shocking until your eyes wander to my sister.

Poor Annie, age 11, is sporting hair that is feathered so severely, you fear she'll take involuntary flight. Her giant round glasses are the stuff of your worst Sally Jessy Raphael nightmares.

The photographer, whose "studio" was set up in a Dodge City motel room, instructed me to lean over a ledge, my hands folded awkwardly. Annie was then asked to lean over my back in a pose that makes it look as though she's mounting up for a sisterly piggy back ride, 1984 style.

Don't even get me started on Mom and Dad's picture from the same session, which is a blur of leather blazers and Jordache jeans.

Awkward family photos. We all have them.

And if you have the guts to share yours, you will win my admiration and possibly a chance to get a less-awkward family photo taken.

Inspired by the snort-worthy websites and e-mails all over the Internet featuring families in hilariously awful, awkward poses from the out-of-style past, I'm launching my own Awkward Family Photo Contest.

Your job is to get in touch with your self-deprecating sense of humor, dig the photo albums out of the back of the closet and pull out those embarrassing family pictures you'd rather forget.

I'm looking for photos that include outdated hairstyles, what-were-we-thinking fashion choices and stilted, cringe-worthy poses. The more awful the better.

We'll narrow the entries to a few finalists then let readers vote for a winner. The family whose photo is chosen the best (worst?) wins a $50 gift card plus a studio portrait session with a Wichita Eagle photographer.

Not sure what I'm looking for? Just log on to the awesome website

The best of the best can be found under the "Photo" tab titled "AFP Hall of Fame," where you can marvel at the picture of the family dressed for a studio portrait in their matching Star Trek uniforms, three girls in prom dresses, each holding a chicken, and a moving portrait session of a girl and her Cabbage Patch kid.

A few rules:

I prefer portraits, but candid snapshots also are allowed. What isn't allowed is submitting awkward photos of others without their permission. Either you must be one of the people in the photo or have obtained permission from the owner of the photo to submit it. You also must be able to prove the origin of the picture, if necessary.

E-mail your pictures to by Friday, March 11. Or, you can mail it to:

Awkward Family Photos

The Wichita Eagle

825 E. Douglas

Wichita, KS 67202

Be sure to include your name, a daytime phone number and a description of the photo — when it was taken, who's in it, your funny self-analysis, etc.

Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want your picture back.

If you don't want it back, we'll understand.

About Denise Neil

Denise has been an Eagle reporter since 1997. She writes about pop culture on Sundays, reviews restaurants on Fridays and blogs at Dining with Denise. Previously, she worked for the Chattanooga Times and graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

Contact Denise at 316-268-6327 or by e-mailing

Follow Denise on Twitter: @DeniseNeil

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