Sugar Magnolia

July 30th, 2010

Sugar Magnolia - Kids

“This is a photo of my younger siblings being forced, by mom, to pose by the Haight-Ashbury sign in San Francisco. This photo has become infamous among our family and friends, we like to call it “Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest”.”

(submitted by Colleen)

109 Responses to “Sugar Magnolia”

  1. Used to live here says:

    You photoshop claimers have obviously never been to San Francisco. I used to live at Waller and Ashbury, 1 block up the hill from Haight. This is just a little bit East of the fog belt in San Francisco. Most everything West of here is typically shrouded in fog for most of the summer. When I used to live in the Sunset district near the ocean, I dubbed it the Set district — there is no sun there.

    Someone said it’s obviously a sunny day — I guess you’re blind enough to not notice the hint of blue creeping through the otherwise white sky in the picture. This is typical of San Francisco fog. The sky may look bright in the picture, but that’s just an illusion because it is white. The lighting in photographs in this sort of fog gets very awkward.

  2. Steve says:

    That “background” someone mentioned, on Haley Joel Osment, between his arm and his body, is the leg of the guy behind them.

    As for the shadow, you can see the shadow on the sidewalk to their right, and based on its position, they are clearly standing in it. Maybe it’s from a bus, or a giant hippie on stilts. The fact that they’re in shadow and others are in sunlight will affect how the entire photo looks. And scanned in using old technology is not exactly going to give you that “crisp” look. So y’all get over yourselves, I think we can all live with the idea that these are just 3 inherently unhappy children standing at a semi-important spot in American cultural history importance.

    • CarrieM says:

      Not inherently unhappy kids, I hope; just not thrilled to be here at this moment.

      • CeCe says:

        Carrie: You are much further along toward being a more accurate psychoanalyst than Steve.

        Steve: Remember that old adage: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Perhaps somewhat true, but the picture may not give one the necessary thousand words to understand the view.

        Without the backstory, isn’t it amazing that an old photo sometimes tells more about the viewers than the view!

        • Steve says:

          Well, of course I was kidding about “inherently unhappy” (I figured mentioning a hippie on stilts would have shown that). My family (3 brothers, myself, and my parents) did all our vacations by car, and I have more photos than I can count of all of us standing in front of different monuments. The pics in the morning show us all smiling and happy, because we’re still fresh. By the end of the day, we’re looking like these kids, numb to yet another attempt at photographic immortality, wondering when it’s all going to end so that we can go back to the hotel and go swimming.

          And I guess the girl is not exactly unhappy, there is a hint of a forced smile. But having been in this exact same position, I do know what those kids are thinking. “Can we please eat/swim/sleep?” And Haley Joel does kind of look like someone just told him his dog died.

          • CeCe says:

            Cryptic Humorist to Cryptic Humorist:

            Nice Try!

            As a matter of fact S.F. has had hippies on stilts since the late 1960s. Check out the Embarcadero and any of the hillsides some time. By the way, the intersection of H/A Streets is the Hippie National Shrine.

  3. mike says:

    Haha. Thanks for the backstory. I love how all of the “Photoshop Forensic Experts” come out and analyze an image . . .

  4. JerseyPam says:

    And thank you for the funny backstory. I’m so glad to hear the kids made it through the Sixties. In the Nineties.

    • CeCe says:

      Thanks (you/others) for enlightening others about San Francisco’s Haight/Ashbury Streets, hippies, and the Grateful Dead.

  5. Bulldog says:

    I know those kids. Millbrae? Taylor M.S.??

  6. CeCe says:

    Thanks to the witty and other responders who get it. You photoshop junkies just need to stay away from that one pill that makes you smaller. Just teasing! By the way, the kids lived through this momentary painful discomfort and today are happy and well adjusted.

    During this same 1990s period, we thoroughly enjoyed the Grateful Dead Concerts at the California State Fair. Watching the Deadheads in the crowd was almost as good as being at the old Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus showings in the 1960s.

  7. Colleen says:

    Ok, I need to put this to rest. I submitted this photo and it is not photoshopped. Sorry to dissappoint you, but the awkwardness is genuine. Maybe all you kids have forgotten what old photos look like when scanned into a computer on a crap ’90s scanner (you also must be the ones who didn’t get the Grateful Dead reference). My siblings cannot fake that level of misery, unless they’re being dragged to SF and forced to pose by my mom. So let’s end it at that.

  8. Willis says:

    Touch of Grey is a song by the Grateful Dead, they were pretty active around Haight/Asbury District….

  9. Cavineetje says:

    It is photoshopped because:

    1: you can see compression artifacts/moire on the kids, but not on the background, so it’s really 2 pics combined.
    2: the perspective is wrong. It looks like the big kid is glued to the person in the green shirt behind him.
    3: look at the space between the little boy’s shirt and his arm. It does not fit in with the background at all, as far as colour and light are concerned. So I think it’s the remaing background of the kids’ pic.

    Why anyone would do this? I don’t know

  10. cincha says:

    Sugar Magnolia is a Grateful Dead song with some of the hippie-est, trippi-est lyrics straight out of the stereotypical hippie era. The ‘touch of grey’ reference is another GD lyric, (round the late 80s, I think?), and refers, I think, to the glum, gray expressions on these would-be flower children’s faces.

  11. Rina says:

    Yup,definitely photoshopped…and badly at that hehe their expressions are priceless!

  12. CeCe says:

    Everyone – I took this picture of my children, on one of our many trips to San Fransisco, and I can assure everyone it is not photo-shopped.

    • JerseyPam says:

      Thank you, CeCe. They’ll come around.

    • Snowrider says:

      I would love to have a picture of my kids standing there! CeCe, just curious, why are they kind of un-happy looking?

      • CeCe says:

        We had been walking around, sightseeing, and shopping for quite a long time. Kids this age get tired and bored and just want to go home.

        Kids Angry/Depressed Storyline: “We don’t want to be in one more picture!!”

  13. cool bean says:

    I doubt this is photoshopped, I’ve seen plenty of old photos taken with crappy cameras that come out with prominent foreground shading against their backgrounds. This is common.

  14. stephanie says:

    i don’t get the title. What am I missing?

    • NYCMike says:

      I don’t get the title or the “touch of grey” reference. Could someone please help us out?

    • zeppie says:

      Im glad I was’nt the only one…

    • Lisa says:

      I don’t get it, either. Just looks like kids who are really pissed to be forced to stand at the corner of Haight and Ashbury. Got a picture like that of me and my brother at the World’s Fair back in 1982.

    • Jeff says:

      both are references to Grateful Dead songs

    • Mental Mouse says:

      “Touch of Grey” was the “breakout hit” for the Grateful Dead, that brought them to the general attention of the public. The really old-time Deadheads used to talk about “Touchheads”, the ones who joined the throng only after that song came out.

      Incidentally, I was there about 20 years ago, and was horrified to find a Gap store on *that* corner.

  15. DrStrangelove says:

    What, pray tell, makes so many people think this is ‘shopped?? Be specific.

    • coNNie says:

      the photoshopping part

    • Jeff says:

      For starters, it was clearly a sunny day but the kids are in shadow. And the boy in the middle… his left cheek is unusually straight. Enlarge it – it’s cut perfectly vertically.

    • tenwen says:

      The lighting of the background is so bright, and the lighting of the kids is really dark. Like, maybe they are standing under an awning, but they’re apparently in the street. Also, look at the awkward angle of the tall boy – it’s almost as if he’s been “placed” into the photo. He doesn’t line up with the smaller kids.

  16. Kacie says:

    I think the fact that it’s obviously photoshopped is what makes this so funny and awkward. First of all, why in the world would you want to photoshop yourself/your children into this scene? Because you want to go there? Because you’re really obsessed with hippies? Secondly, if you are going to photoshop children into such a scene, why would you choose this picture of them?! You don’t have any pictures of everyone smiling? Are you trying to send a message that your family does not take drug use lightly? Such an awkward picture…

  17. JerseyPam says:

    One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small…
    And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all…

  18. Penny D. says:

    In fairness, I’d probably have the same expression if I were standing there.

  19. jnmcnally says:

    Hate Ashbury

  20. CoryK says:

    is that Haley Joel Osment

  21. Anthony says:

    Talk about Scared Straight!

  22. Stacey says:

    the love, the peace, the joy just shine thru don’t they??

  23. steve z says:

    I don’t know what expression Ashbury looks like, but I deffinitely see the Haight.

  24. steve z says:

    C’mon kids! You know all those songs you love to hear me sing to at the top of my lungs in the car? This is where they came from!!!!!! By the way, because we stopped here for this picture we don’t have time to go to Disneyland…………Say CHEESE!

  25. skydala says:

    Why on earth would someone photoshop a picture of this? Were they supposed to take a vacation and the kids got sick? Are they just really that strange that they randomly photoshop AWFUL pictures of the kids in places they’ve never been/forgot to take a picture at/some other strange reason? Wow. Awkward fits this photo all around!

  26. Liz in PA says:

    ♫ Hey, come on out around the world be ready for a brand new beat
    Oh, summer’s here and the time is right, oh, for dancing in the street
    – stand there & smile dammit!!!

  27. Kristina says:

    Galaxy Wind Song, Sage Moon Beam, Rain Cloud Dancer
    They’ve been pissed off ever since.

  28. Another Mike says:

    Looks like a real summer of love to me.

  29. Willis says:

    The middle one looks like the kid from the movie the Sixth Sense…”I see drugged people.”

  30. PissedChef says:

    They look like they just found out Jerry is dead.

  31. lkv says:

    Is it just me, or does this look kind of photoshopped? It doesnt look like the big kid was really there.

  32. liss says:

    These poor kids….Mom & Dad must have been hippies but these kids have no idea why they are standing under a street sign.

  33. Graeme says:

    This is photoshopped.

  34. ephercat says:

    Mom. why are we here? Can we go do something worthwhile, not to mention fun, now?

  35. ccc says:

    photoshopped. poorly.

  36. Rick D says:

    The start or the end of really bad trip?

  37. Susan says:


  38. dmlarz says:

    Clearly they lack the understanding of the importance of this street corner. Ha!

  39. Et says:

    In line, now- ‘Angry’, ‘Confused’ and ‘More-than-a-little-frightened-of-the-hippies’. C’mon, kids, it’s the holiday of a lifetime!

  40. Kat says:

    This one looks so PHOTO SHOPPED!

  41. JerseyPam says:

    “Dammit ma, we wanted to see some flower children!”

  42. Jamie says:

    I am SO pissed off! Take my picture.

  43. Lily says:

    hmmm… not sure why they all look so confused

  44. Baggins says:

    Those kids look scared ****less around those people with flowers in their hair!

  45. Doug says:

    Such a fake photo!

  46. Alice says:

    Seems to me that this was was definitely photo shopped, but it’s still funny! I wonder what they were originally in front of and why the dour faces?

  47. Sioux says:

    i think that is the saddest picture on the whole site. Too funny!

  48. Jen says:

    I typically take these photos as legit, but this looks really photoshopped. But not sure why they chose this background

  49. Dave says:

    Am I missing something? All I see are unhappy kids a Haight/Ashbury. Not that funny.

  50. nathaniel says:

    Baaaaddd photoshop!

Leave a Reply

View Mobile Site
spread the awkwardness