When it comes to portraits or any artistic genre really, I couldn't be less interested in "pretty". I'm particularly suspect of anything purporting to be unstaged, natural, or candid as (to my mind) those images tend to be the most infused with artifice. I like a good staged narrative. Highly posed, unapologetically constructed, these images expose the uncomfortable truths that we might not care to reveal about ourselves.
Here are a few examples from some of my favourite photographers:
Jeff Wall's "Mimic"
Tina Barney's "Jill and Polly in the bathroom"
Nic Nicosia's "Like photojournalism"
Recently though, my sister tuned me into a hilarious new website devoted to (unintentionally) awkward family photos that give new meaning to the word uncomfortable. Simply put, you can't make this shit up.
A few selections from the website.
"Family tree - even the tree thought this one was awkward"
"My two dads - feel free to use your calculators for this exercise"
"The closeness of you - when you're madly in love..."
There's one image on the site for which there simply are no words. Even I hesitated to post this one - "The Wonder Years" . Yikes.