Saturday , 25 November 2017

A Photographer Captures Strangers’ Reactions To Her Very Presence

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Photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero has long been aware of peoples’ cruelty towards her based on her size. Living in a society that’s obsessed with thinness, life can be hard for larger people, especially women. Morris-Cafiero, however, decided to turn this meanspirited habit into art, and hopefully make people more aware of their judgmental attitudes.

The project became a photo series called Wait Watchers, where Morris-Cafiero photographs herself in public settings, where people, who don’t realize they’re on camera, can be seen in the background laughing at her or giving her strange looks. And no, she’s not doing anything strange, nor is she very obvious about taking the photo. The photos are taken with a self-timing camera, and Morris-Cafiero, once the shot is set up, goes about a normal activity like talking on the phone or seeming to wait for someone. Behind her, you can usually see a passerby giving her the side-eye.

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The photo that started it all. Here, a man sneers at Morris-Cafiero as she sits on the steps. What he didn’t know was that she ended up seeing him, too.Morris-Cafiero, who is based in Memphis, first noticed that she was being appraised by strangers while working on another project. For one of the photos, she took a self-portrait sitting on steps in Times Square. When she looked back through the pictures, she noticed that she wasn’t the only one taking pictures. A man behind her was making a face at her while his friend snapped a picture of him. The event stood out to her. “Even though we’re in the sensory-overload capital of the world, and he’s being photographed, he seems to be fixated on me,” she comments. She began to notice the phenomenon in more of her own photos as well. Instead of retreating from the public eye, though, she decided to meet it head to head.

She began setting up cameras in public places, and then staging it to look like she just happened to be in the area. The photos capture not only Morris-Cafiero herself, but the reactions of the passerby. “I’m very interested in how society uses the gaze to communicate their emotion, then how we, in turn, interpret the way people look at us,” she explains. The Wait Watchers project turns the strangers’ gaze at Morris-Cafiero back on themselves, and, she hopes, make people aware of the issues of body image, shaming of larger people, which Morris-Cafiero has experienced first hand.

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Her work as become somewhat viral online, and, since it’s the Internet, the feedback included some not-so-nice comments. People told Morris-Cafiero that “my life, and in some cases the world, would be better if I lost weight and got a makeover.” Morris-Cafiero brushes the nonsense off, though. “I don’t care what anybody thinks about my body and I’m perfectly fine with it.”

And you really can’t argue that her attitude is anything short of fantastic. “We all know that haters are going to be haters,” she says, directly to her audience in the Wait Watchers Kickstarter video, “but as I celebrate myself, I hope you learn to love and celebrate yourself as well.”

  • Instacrap

    Breaking News! Self-conscious woman who doesn’t like to be looked at puts pictures of herself on internet!
    Let’s analyze each pic.
    1. “What’s this grown-ass woman doing on a child’s swing?”
    2. Possibly judgmental glare.
    3. Noticing a woman in a stationary pose on a sidewalk full of moving people.
    4. Same thing – innocent glance.
    5. One person noticing the cameraman, one noticing the subject. Innocent glances.
    6. Glancing at a person passing. Looking at the face, not the body.
    7. Appears to be looking at the camera. Normal behavior.
    8. Glancing at a stationary person standing nearly in a main path of travel. Eyes to face, not body.
    9. Turning head to look at body. Possibly judgmental.
    10. Eyes to face. Less judgmental and more “get the fuck outta my way!”
    11. Just a couple of photobombing cops because what are you gonna do, arrest them?

    Haters gonna hate, right? More like indifferent people gonna be indifferent. Out of all the people in those pics you got maybe two giving your body a sideways look. That’s a good day no matter what you look like.

  • Bunch of crap!

    The first photo the kid isnt even looking at her, he is looking at the person clearly taking the picture, and you cant really tell if the dad is looking at her or not, so this picture is invalid.

    The second picture you are assuming he is doing something derogatory towards her, so you are making an ass out of you and me. The only person who would know what he is really thinking is the guy himself.

    The third picture again you are assuming, if a girl was standing there in that pose yes i would be looking at it too because the human mind is curious to know what is going on, and the woman is looking down towards her shoes so maybe she just likes the shoes, again we dont know what she is really thinking so we are only assuming.

    The fourth photo two of the girls are not even looking at her, and the one girl who is stands even to her and she is looking to the side not at her so there was obviously something in the picture that grabbed her attention and i really doubt she would just stay at the lady when she is right next to her.

    The fifth photo the younger kid is clearly curious to what the photo shoot is of, and the dad is clearly looking at the camera.

    The sixth photo the girl is just looking, people look at each other every day so again you are assuming the most negative thing.

    The seventh photo does it justice, but again the girl is still looking and i am sure that wasnt the only thing the girl turned to look at on the beach.

    The eighth photo the lady has already walked by the woman trying to capture the “wrong doing” so this is pointless.

    The ninth photo she is looking at a road map and why the hell would she be looking at a road map when on a sidewalk???

    And the tenth photo the lady is standing there with a girl walking past her who could clearly just be looking in the window at the little shops and not even giving the girl a time of day, so again you just got a perfectly timed photo and are making assumptions.

    And the last photo with the cop is clearly photo shopped bc a police hat is just magically floating over the womans head. Riiiighhhht?? give me a break. So this photo is just a fake.

    Stop being a typical liberal and adjusting and assuming that people are doing the most negative thing. Social media has given racism the most negative image today and are completely getting it wrong and that is clearly what is being done here. This article is just nothing but a bunch of crap. Pathetic!