It's quite a simple and understandable human need. You want an image of yourself and your family at a particular time in your lives. One which encapsulates the essence of the special, unique bond you share. Something you can look back on in the years to come with love, pride and a poignant pang of nostalgia. Unfortunately, our fondest wishes can go grotesquely wrong, leaving us with something which is indeed distinctly memorable. But for all the wrong reasons.
1. This is really disturbing. The gun or the bulge separately would not have been too bad, but bringing them both together in such an intimate juxtaposition suggests the worldview of someone you wouldn't necessarily want to acquaint yourself with.
2. Revealing a little too much flesh is always a bad idea in the wholesome world of family portraits, but it's a mistake many have made. This, however, is taking that mistake and elevating it to cosmic proportions. The scary thing is, they obviously think it's amusing. The Calendar Girls have a lot to answer for.
3. Christmas family portraits tend to have a certain resonance, but the family members need to be singing from the same Christmas carol sheet. Matching pyjamas are a little too cute, but passable, given the occasion. However, inviting what looks like the friendly neighbourhood pervert to join in is ill advised.
4. Should the intention be to define the word chav in your professional family portraits, then study this striking example of the form and learn how it's done. A sobering combination of supreme tastelessness which gives rise to understandable fears for a certain child's future.
5. A sterling example of quite appalling composition. Unless, of course, we are to assume that the prominently displayed sofa is also considered to be a member of the family. It also begs the question of whether the members behind the focal item of furniture are indeed as vertically challenged as they seem.
6. Innocent animals should never be dragged into a scene of sartorial horror. Little wonder, then, that the poor cat looks as though he's caught in the headlights and is already halfway out of there.
7. Christmas does have a tendency to bring out the best in people regarding peace on earth and goodwill to all men. Unfortunately, it also brings out such unforgivable lapses of taste that a case could be made for outlawing the festivities completely. Hopefully no animals were harmed during the making of this. At least not physically…
8. The family so self-regarding that they consider themselves as gifts to the world. A new concept in professional family portraits, or a new low? I think we can speculate, if we must, that the question mark represents the next addition to the family. Pass the sick bag.
9. An interesting, although perhaps not advisable, way of including those who are no longer with us. Is this really the way they would have liked to be remembered?
10. Finally, it's sobering to think that there are people out there in the world who would pose like this with no intention of it being taken as a tongue-in -cheek slice of postmodern irony. They actually mean it in all sincerity, bless 'em.