Photography – the process by which light is filtered through a lens onto some photosensitive element and subsequently turned into a still record of whatever it captured – didn’t start to come about until the 1800’s. And at first it was exceedingly difficult to pull off, and certainly not available to most people.

It’s only been with us for about two centuries. Which of course means there’s no one alive today who was born before it, but also that in terms of humanity, it’s way brand new. Humans have been around for at least 100,000 years, and until very recently, none of us had any means of looking back on these perfect snapshots of our candid past.

It makes me wonder – did people before photography idealize their childhood selves? Did they assume they’d always looked pretty cool?

Because we certainly don’t have that luxury, as these people of Reddit will attest.

10. Traumatised

Wasn’t that a movie with Steve Carell?

I just got traumatised when looking for a picture on my fathers facebook page. No, was not a 40 year old librarian, I was just an 11 year old boy. from blunderyears

9. Not a phase!


It’s not a phase, mom! from blunderyears

8. Shave and a haircut

But you look like you’re totally owning it here and that’s what counts.

At 15, I thought if I shaved my eyebrows off it would be easier to make them symmetrical. For this heinous act, I am sorry. from blunderyears

7. No regrets

As well there shouldn’t be.

This is how my (now wife) and I went to prom. No regrets, 2008 from blunderyears

6. The turtleneck combo

You were one of a kind and you were happy, good on you.

1995, age 10. I loved that dress and turtleneck combo and wore it everywhere. My mom cut my hair with a Flowbee at home. from blunderyears

5. Turn up the volume

This is as big as it gets.

I could never replicate the volume my hair had after 7th grade gym class and a chi straightener from blunderyears

4. High school vibes

There’s just so much being communicated by that face.

My 2003 High School senior picture! from blunderyears

3. Jimmy Neutron

Can’t wait for your Nickelodeon show!

Not terrible, but I spent 4th grade cosplaying as Jimmy Neutron with that helmet of hair. I’m a girl btw. from blunderyears

2. Vans and vans

Mom looks pretty down for it herself.

Me and friends before a Disturbed concert in 2006. We’re so cool posing in front of Mom and the van. ? from blunderyears

1. Following directions

They didn’t say what to do with my teeth, though.

Photographer said shoulders back, head forward, and I delivered. from blunderyears

God bless our past selves. Without them, we wouldn’t be here today.

What was your awkward phase like?

Tell us about it in the comments.