Latest Web Craze: Awkward Family Photo Blog

Latest Web Craze: Awkward Family Photo BlogHandout is a Web site dedicated to the sometimes embarrassing art of the family photo.

Anthony Harvey has posed for more than his share of embarrassing family photographs.

There was the plaid vest-themed photo, the musical instruments-themed photo and, of course, the "floating heads" photo of his family in black turtlenecks against a black background.

But Harvey said never in a million years did he expect to come across any of them while surfing the Web.

That all changed when a link took the 24-year-old to and a circa early 1990s photograph of him, his brother, father and stepmother -- each in a bunny ears headband.

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Best 'Awkward Family Photos'

Anthony Harvey was shocked to see this old photo of his family on the Internet. Photo credit:

"I was really red in the face for about a whole day," the Baltimore musician said about finding the photograph, which the site's bloggers called "The Cottontails."

When he first saw the photograph, he said he used the alias "chiatronne" to comment online, "uh ... I'm the kid on the lef t... I dont' know how this got on the Internet but pardon me while I go jump in front of a truck..."

But after the initial sting of surprise wore off, he said he was good natured about it and became a fan of the blog.

Incidentally, he said, the bunny ears photo was taken during the holidays to spoof the movie "Harvey," which was about an imaginary 6-foot rabbit.

"I love it," he said. "They're pretty damn funny."

And he's hardly the only one to find humor in the site.

Site Draws About 15 Million Visitors in Less Than a Month

In under 30 days, has drawn about 15 million visitors, sometimes hitting nearly 3 million in one day.

"It's tapping into something universal," said blog co-founder Mike Bender, 33, of's success. "Everybody has experienced not only the awkwardness ... [but] I think there's something almost cathartic for people to share their awkwardness. That was always the hope."

The Los Angeles screenwriter said he and his friend Doug Chernack, 34, always had fun joking about their own families' most embarrassing moments.

The blog calls this photo "The Lean" and includes the caption: "Warning: this fan favorite isn't for the conservative family. This is a pose for the clan with sass, one that wants to convey, "Heads up!" "Coming at ya!, "In your face!" "Take a closer look," and of course, "You rang?" Combine with two arm-fold-book-ends and you've got yourselves an album scorcher." Photo credit:

They launched their blog to immortalize the "ultimate symbol" of domestic hilarity: the family photo.

"It kind of embodied it all," Bender said.

This photo, called "Rockettes," features the caption: "Recipe for Rocky Mountain Awkwardness: 1 cup of rainbow colors, 2 tsp of leg kick. Serve chilled!" Photo credit:

More Than 99 Percent of Blog Photos Are User-Submitted

When the site went public, the two mixed photos they had found on the Web with images from their own families and friends.

But now, Bender said, more than 99 percent are user-submitted.

The blog has dubbed this photo "My Two Dads" and includes the caption: "You may use your calculator for this equation." Photo credit:

"It was insane," he told "I didn't expect this kind of traffic."

By the end of its first week, the site was receiving just under 2 million hits a day. They've already been approached for book deals by Harper Collins, Penguin and Random House.

To add to the humor, Bender and Chernack carefully title and caption the photos. Their brief commentary points out the subtle details that make each photo a keeper.

Called "The Choker," this photo includes the caption: "This is what happens when your male role model is both a priest and a gym teacher." Photo credit:

Some of the more popular photos include "The Dribbler," which features a man with an unfortunately-placed stain on his pants; "The Choker," which shows a son tightly clasping his mother's neck; and "OshKosh," a classic retro portrait with two young boys in matching overalls.

"OshKosh" comes with the simple caption: "B'Awkward." Photo credit:

Families 'Happy to Share in the Awkwardness'

If people ask them to remove the images, they take them down immediately. But, Bender said, even many of those who are surprised to find themselves on the site end up happy to "share in the awkwardness."

Michael Hanscom, one of the young stars of the "Osh Kosh" photo, said at first he was shocked to find himself and his family online.

He was clicking through the pages of one of his favorite blogs when he ended up at, staring at a decades-old photograph of his own family.

"It was totally random happenstance. But I thought it was funny," he said, adding that he had a minor internal debate over whether he should be upset with the site for posting a private photo.

Ultimately, he chose humor over umbrage.

"What I like about the site is that he seems to be doing a good job of not mocking all the photos that he posts in a mean way," said the 36-year-old Seattle resident. "I've seen similar sites that are very mean-spirited. I didn't get that feeling from this one."

In fact, he was so easygoing about the site, he said he decided to send it another even more embarrassing family photo for good measure.

Fashion Changes, Childhood Braces Equal the Humor

Now called "OshKosh: The Prequel" by the blog, the image shows the Hanscom family in another classic Sears portrait.

"Mom is yawning and I'm in the striped shirt [looking away from the camera]," Hanscom said.

When it comes to the source of the photos, he and his family are stumped. And though they never thought they'd be candidates for a site like this, they understand why they're there now.

"OshKosh: The Prequel" includes the caption: "The Hanscom family, pictured here again, was cool enough to write us and send in another gem." Photo credit:

"As a family, we certainly don't think of [the photos] as awkward. But it's that, through time, that it gets the humor value," he said, adding that the fashion changes and childhood braces are what draw the laughs. "It's just the realities of being kids -- you look goofy."