Plus-Sized Photographer Captures Public Reactions to Her in Photographs

Memphis-based photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero's series "Wait Watchers," ongoing since 2013, comprises photographs of herself in public places, capturing others' expressions in reaction to looking at her as they pass. She sets up her shots with a visible, self-timed camera, usually on a tripod, and proceeds to do normal activities. Apparent looks of disgust from people while looking at her are frequently seen in the results.  

One such example happened in Times Square, New York City. A man standing behind Morris-Cafiero made a face at her from behind her, as a friend of his grabbed a picture of him. That was part of her inspiration for the project.

The photographer said in an article at Salon,

"I do not know what the strangers are thinking when they look at me. But there is a Henri Cartier-Bresson moment when my action aligns with the composition, the shutter and their gaze that has a critical or questioning element. Even though they are in front of a camera, they feel they have anonymity because they are crossing behind me.

And I don’t get hurt when I look at the images. I feel like I am reversing the gaze back on to them to reveal their gaze. I’m fine with who I am and don’t need anyone’s approval to live my life. I only get angry when I hear someone comment about my weight and the image does not reflect the criticism. That’s frustrating: when I didn’t get the shot.

But since the project started getting media attention, I’ve received hundreds of emails from people thanking me. There are so many people in the world who feel they have the right – no, the obligation — to criticize someone for the way they look, and to be that recipient of those insults can feel so lonely. I got an email from a 15-year-old girl in Belgium who said my images made her “feel better and not care about what others think and live my life.” That made me proud. As for what the images mean, viewers may interpret the images as they see fit. I’m just trying to start a conversation."

See more of Morris-Cafiero's images at her website and on Instagram and Twitter

Via Viral Nova | Images: Haley Morris-Cafiero

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how can we possibly hope to teach our children to stop being bullies when we as Adults continue to be one. It should not matter whether you are fat, skinny, tall, short, dress funky or dress in style, have tattoos, don't have tattoos, have piercings, don't have piercings. Mind the manners your parents should have taught you and keep your opinions to yourselves. An opinion, whether expressed out loud or by expression is just as damaging and hurtful as a fist or an object being thrown at you. The world is made up of individuals, who think and act differently, its what makes us unique. No one knows what another's life is like. Their weight problem could be a medical issue they have no control over, the fact that they dress in clothing that doesn't match in color could mean they were born color blind. The shoes could be ordered by a doctor for severely damaged feet. So be quiet, keep moving and be thankful that your life is so damn perfect.
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Love the comment "...she will drop dead at 40" Let me just assure you that skinny people, some who eat just as unhealthy as an overweight person, will also surely die at 40.. the difference is you can't immediately make a judgement about their health that you don't know to be true. Stop being an ignorant ass.
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Put clothing that unstylish, ill-fitting and unflattering on any shape person, and you will get looks... if she had properly fitted and proportioned clothes on from someplace other than Walmart's reject bin, there'd be no story here.
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Everyone is looking at her because she's taking photos of herself with "a visible, self-timed camera, usually on a tripod." Haven't you ever passed someone taking a photo on the street, and turned to see the scene they're trying to capture? Not everything is all about you, Haley!!
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