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One Tank Trip: Awkward Family Photos exhibit

One Tank Trip: Awkward Family Photos exhibit

READING, Pa. - Together, through thick and thin, side by side, even when things get a little awkward. OK, a lot awkward, no matter what you're family, and family does awkward better than anyone else.

"Awkward doesn't even cover it," said John Graydon Smith of the Reading Public Museum. "It's awkward and silly and creepy and strange."

And wonderful. "Awkward Family Photos" is a traveling exhibit, and it's up on the walls of the Works on Paper Gallery and Corridor at the Reading Public Museum.

The exhibit, which opens Friday and runs through January, includes 200 photos from around the globe.

The gallery space is set up to look like grandma's living room.

"You come in and there are just pictures everywhere and tacky wall paper and tacky furniture, and it just fits with the whole theme of the awkwardness," Smith said.

They are the kind of photos you want to look at while trying to cover your eyes at the same time. It all started with a vacation photo Mike Bender saw hanging in his parents' home in 2009. He knew he couldn't possibly be alone in his awkwardness .

In 2009, Mike and his childhood friend, Doug Chernack, launched awkwardfamilyphotos.com. It was a hit, and now everyone's odd moments are pure joy for the rest of us.

"That's what we keep saying to everybody is, feel better about your family this holiday season," Smith explained. "You come here and you look at these and you say, 'We're not that weird after all.'"

Museum staff members even getting in on the joke. There's a section of the exhibit just for their own awkward photos.

"You might find somebody that you recognize, that's for sure," Smith said.

You can send the museum your photos, too. A few of the cringe-worthy were taken right in our area. One features a Santa with a black eye. It was taken in York, Pennsylvania, in 1986.

So, this holiday season, gather the family around. Get out the old photo albums and celebrate what you see, knowing sometimes the worst photos are actually the best ones.


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