Awkward Family Photos



In May, 2009 friends Mike Bender and Doug Chernack began a blog inspired by the family photos hung in Mike’s house during his last visit home. Knowing they have a collection of awkward family photos, they realized other must too. So the ideas was born and they posted up several of their uncomfortable family moments.

After posting several of their photos and several provided by friends, this site became an instant hit; it now receives millions of hits and submission from around the world.


The “Awkward Family Photo” exhibition, at the California Heritage Museum, opens on March 28, and will continue through July 27, 2014. It invites you to celebrate those less than picture-perfect moments in an exhibition that explores ten family themes: The Family Portrait; Siblings; Vacation; The Kids; The Holidays; Weddings; Dad; Mom; The Grandparents; Birthdays; and The Family Pet.

As far as a perfect definition of awkwardness, it may not exist. Everyone can look at a picture and take away something different about what makes it awkward, but at long as the viewer feels some level of discomfort, there is awkwardness.



Ultimately, this show is about more than just photos and stories. It’s about celebrating the family experience and shining a light on all of those deliciously awkward moments that come with the price of family membership.

Three “Awkward Family Photos” books have been published by Random House, Inc. The books are available for purchase in the Museum’s shop.

Thank you to The California Heritage Museum for photos and content. For more information please visit their website at


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