“I was always an awkward, shy kid. And a lot of my yearbook pictures are pretty awkward,” admits Brian Michaels, 22, co-founder of awkwardschoolpictures.com, a recently-launched Web site that celebrates the humor often found in yearbook and prom pictures, not to mention scenes from the classroom and playground. So when Michaels and fellow co-founder Albert Estevez, 42, spied a group of school children taking awkward photos of each other in a frozen yogurt shop, the pair immediately envisioned the possibilities.
Launched late last month, AwkwardSchoolPictures.com features user-submitted photos from all aspects of school life, “from the traumatizing first day of preschool through the last days of college,” announces the launch press release. Photo categories include: Interesting hairdos, interesting outfits, cheerleaders, school plays, and sporting events—to name just a few.
Yet Michaels—an economics student at the University of California at San Diego—insists that the site isn’t intended to be negative or mean-spirited. The idea is “to provide clean humor without being sarcastic or negative,” he says, and—just maybe—to dull the impact of bullies through the power of self-deprecation. Not unlike Awkward Family Photos, Michaels and Estevez have visitors submit their own photos, so everyone can get a good laugh.
“Whether it’s the picture of you with shoulder pads straight out of Dynasty, or the famous college prank that your friends pulled on you, it’s time to pull those pictures out from under your bed” [and submit them], he says.
But Michaels—who has yet to post one of his own yearbook photos—understands that not everyone is comfortable revisiting their youth. “If you want to forget about your past,” he concludes, “you shouldn’t submit your photos for everyone to see.”