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Tacky Tourist Photos

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Sep '15

OUCH: Do Not Head Lose

Watch your head, silly Westerner!

SUBMITTED BY: Chris Kilham    LOCATION: Thailand (2015)

This shop owner’s English grammar may not be perfect, but his or her heart is in the right place.

(Chris Kilham is a medicine hunter, author and educator who teaches a popular ethnobotany course at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.)

Mar '15

American Gothic Reimagined

Recreating the iconic Grant Wood painting "American Gothic" at the original American Gothic House.

SUBMITTED BY: Thomas Schmeh and Tan Chau Qun  LOCATION: Eldon, Iowa

Only two roles to choose from: Somebody’s gotta play the wife!

Here’s the original for comparison:

No need to bring your own pitchfork. The American Gothic House Center, which celebrates the life of artist Grant Wood, provides tourists with complimentary props.

(Thomas Schmeh is the director of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa.)



Jan '15

Opening Act at the Whaling Museum

Comedian Eugene Mirman was reportedly scouting locations at the New Bedford Whaling Museum for a yet-to-be-titled romantic comedy based on a young whaling ship captain falling in love with a feisty Greenpeace telemarketer.

SUBMITTED BY: Eugene Mirman  LOCATION: New Bedford, Massachusetts (2015)

Move aside, ventriloquism — taxidermy humor is the next big thing in standup comedy.

However, the seal’s not laughing. As if his forced deer-in-the-headlights facial expression isn’t sad enough, he’s forever stuck as the opening act at a whale museum.

(Eugene Mirman is the founding director of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival and the alterego of “Gene” on the animated Fox comedy, “Bob’s Burgers.”)

Jan '15

Screaming For Legos

WHAT A SCREAM - Lego artist Nathan Sawaya recreated Edvard Munch's "The Scream" in plastic bricks.

SUBMITTED BY: Kaden Garnick   LOCATION: Boston, Massachusetts (2015)

At Lego artist Nathan Sawaya‘s “Art of the Brick” exhibit, it’s much easier to channel “The Scream” than the Mona Lisa.

Or is Kaden simply paying tribute to actor Macaulay Culkin in “Home Alone?”

(Kaden Garnick is a creative middle school student who loves Legos and Norwegian Expressionist art.)


Oct '14

Hands That Cut Through Stone

Balanced Rock Karate Chop

SUBMITTED BY: Jadelyn & Greig Nakamura  LOCATION: Arches National Park, Utah (2014)

Pretending to hold a famous landmark, such as the Liberty Bell or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is one of the toughest photo-ops to pull off. Everything needs to be perfect. The camera angle, the palm arc, the wind conditions, everything. The slightest deviation can cause your Tacky Tourist Photo to look like this, causing tremendous embarrassment for generations to come.

So a lot of pressure was put on Greig to cup Balanced Rock, a popular rock formation in Utah’s storied Arches National Park. Positioned just an inch or two lower and Greig may have pulled this illusion off. (We know that he meant well, and that’s the only important thing). Instead, Greig inadvertently gives off a karate chop vibe, looking as if he is severing the boulder from it precarious perch.

It turns out that these natural stone formations are a lot more fragile than they appear. In 2013, two Utah Boy Scout leaders were caught toppling a 170 million-year-old rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park. They were caught primarily because they made a YouTube video of themselves destroying the rock formation while pushing the 1990 dance single “Wiggle It.” The leaders were subsequently thrown out of the Scouts for violating the “Leave No Trace” hiking motto.

Staying behind the fence, Greig wasn’t taking any chances.

(Greig Nakamura is a high-profile guidance counselor in the Hawaii public schools.)

Oct '14

Yellowstone Challenge: Who’s the Alpha Male?

L.L. Bean vs. REI: Battle of the Backpackers at Yellowstone

SUBMITTED BY: Steve Silberberg   LOCATION: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming(2014)

It’s every guy’s fantasy to grow a pair of antlers and bang heads with anyone who threatens his backpacking dominance.

We’ve never seen either of these guys lock antlers before, but we’re betting on the guy on the right.

The guy without the pair of purple Crocs.

Not Recommended Hiking Gear: Purple Crocs

(Steve Silberberg is the founder of Fitpacking, a weight loss and fitness backpacking adventure vacation company that doesn’t believe in starving its participants.)

Sep '14

Did he order the girly drink?

The Hotel Ranga Bar in South Iceland (Double click the skirt to learn more.)

SUBMITTED BY: Barrie and Ilya Mirman  LOCATION: South Iceland (2014)

Iceland is known as the Land of the Northern Lights, the Land of Few Vowels, and now…

The Land of No Pants!

(Tacky Tourist Photos co-founder Ilya Mirman is a rock-and-roll photographer specializing in heavy metal metal hair bands. Barrie is a frequent TTP contributor with a weakness for Drew Barrymore movies.)

Jul '14

This Preying Mantis Must Be a Yankees or Orioles Fan

Insects Take Over Las Vegas: Humans Surrender Quickly! (Photo by Ilya Mirman)

SUBMITTED BY: Darren Garnick   LOCATION: Downtown Container Park, Las Vegas (2014)

Angered by the juvenile petty behavior of David Price, this Mantis took out his rage on the first Tampa Bay Rays fan he could find.

(Darren Garnick is co-founding curator of Tacky Tourist Photos.)

Jul '14

Weird Al Yankovic Embraces Tacky Tourists (Kind of)

Look who’s now flying the Tacky Pride flag: “Weird Al” Yankovic along with Eric Stonestreet, Jack Black, Kristen Schaal, Margaret Cho and Aisha Tyler!

See for yourself:

Jun '14

Gone With The Empathy: Why is Scarlett Smiling?

"Gone With The Wind" co-starring Noelle Boc and Clark Gable.

SUBMITTED BY: Noelle Boc  LOCATION: Universal Studios, California (1985)

It’s tough to line up your face in one of those hole-in-the-head photoboards. You have to make sure there’s not too much hair dangling through the hole, especially in cases when the color doesn’t match. You have to tilt your head at the perfect angle and stick out of the board enough to be visible and minimize shadows.  Lastly, eye contact with the other character is critical.

With all these things to consider in a 5-second photo-op, we forgive Noelle/Scarlett for reflexively smiling while Atlanta burns to the ground.

P.S. This snapshot is 29 years old. Does anyone know if Universal Studios still has this “Gone With The Wind” photoboard?

(Noelle Boc is active in the tattooed librarian movement and likes to kiss fish.)

Jun '14

Do You Wanna Be the Thief or the Drunkard?

London's Warwick Castle Shows Off Its Judgmental Side

SUBMITTED BY: The Cole Family of Colorado     LOCATION: London, England (2014)

It’s not truly a family vacation until you’ve been publicly humiliated, right?

Stockades are a staple photo-op of historical theme parks, whether it be commemorating the sadistic Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation or even the Disney version of Revolutionary War America.

But England’s Warwick Castle takes public shaming to the next level, labeling willing tourists as drunks and thieves — and even casting a moral judgment on which crime deserves more discomfort. Perhaps the drunkard is forced on his knees to facilitate vomiting?

Note: The plastic bag wrapping is NOT forced upon all pretend drunkards. It’s actually a tourist rain poncho.

(The Cole Family is Colorado’s most prolific group of contributors to Tacky Tourist Photos, previously responsible for classics such as “Regurgitated Waterfall,” and “Field of Dreams.”)


May '14

You’d Have to be NUTS Not to Love This Photo

Perry's Nut House in Belfast, Maine

SUBMITTED BY: Barrie and Ilya Mirman   LOCATION: Belfast, Maine (2014)

This nutcracker looks like a lobster, from the hue to the anatomy of the tail and claws. It even looks like the artist ran out of paint.

But this “Head in the Hole” sign board photo-op at Perry’s Nut House gets an A+ for concept.

You know who else earns an A+?

Tacky Tourist Photos co-founder Ilya Mirman for his heartfelt character acting.

(When he is not eating cashews, photographer Ilya Mirman likes to crash Vietnamese weddings.)

Mar '14

Art Gallery Romance

Unrequited Love at the Four Seasons Maui

SUBMITTED BY: Ilya Mirman  LOCATION: Maui, Hawaii (2014)

One guest rule sorely missing from the Four Seasons Resort in Maui: Don’t leave saliva on the artwork.

Sucking face with statues is a Tacky Tourist Tradition, whether it be the kissing the dry lips of the Egyptian Sphinx or puckering up with a common Boston Harbor fish.

Here’s a better perspective on the real size of the Four Seasons mascot:

Close Up

(Ilya Mirman is a rock concert photographer and the co-founder of Tacky Tourist Photos.)


Jan '14

Counterfeit Elmo

Why are Sesame Street characters roaming the streets of New York at 10 p.m.?

SUBMITTED BY: Mike and Denise Reiss    LOCATION: Times Square, New York

We don’t know what time this picture was really taken, but it is a bit odd that Elmo works the night shift after most kids have gone to bed.

“At any one time there are four Elmos working Times Square,” Mike says.  “People are beginning to miss the crack dealers!”

Our sources indicate that the Muppet in this photo is not the creepy “Anti-Semitic Elmo” who has horrified tourists and is now in prison for trying to extort money from the Girl Scouts.

(Comedian Mike Reiss has been a writer/producer for “The Simpsons” and was co-creator of  “The Critic.”)

Dec '13

Squirrel! (Who Says Disney is Just For Kids?)

Hamming it "UP" with Dug at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

SUBMITTED BY: Daryl Morey  LOCATION: Orlando, Florida (2013)

The #1 Dad Responsibility? Act like a goofball for your kids.

“Dug,” the Talking Dog from the Disney/Pixar film “UP,” eagerly recreates his Squirrel pose thousands of times a day.

It’s a role that Daryl can’t resist!

(Daryl Morey is our top Tacky Tourist Photos correspondent from Houston. He previously discovered the Rabbit With the Most Facial Hair in Shanghai, China.)