Photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero has always had strangers stare at her and make fun of her in public because of her weight. Instead of the situation making her feel sad and depressed, she decided to create a unique photography series based on her experiences.
Named Wait Watchers, her photography collection features Morris-Cafiero’s self portraits of herself in public showing how strangers can be cruel in the background with their rude looks and/or laughter.
The project idea came about with Morris-Cafiero was working on another project named Something to Weigh in which she snapped one photo self portrait while while sitting on some steps in Times Square. After processing she noticed a man making a face at her while being photographed by a female friend.
This photo series explores the nasty side of people and should remind us all to be kind to each other and not to judge!
She noticed something similar in a photograph captured just five minutes later at a different location.
Morris-Cafiero then began setting up her camera in heavily trafficked public areas, composing the shots, setting a self-timer, and then stepping into the frame. The camera snaps a photo while she’s doing everyday things (e.g. chatting on her phone or grabbing a bite to eat), and her hope is that the image also captures an interesting expression from at least one passing stranger.
I now reverse the gaze and record their reactions to me while I perform mundane tasks in public spaces. I seek out spaces that are visually interesting and geographically diverse. I try to place myself in compositions that contain feminine icons or advertisements. Otherwise, I position myself and the camera in a pool of people…and wait [#]
The images capture the gazer in a microsecond moment where they, for unknowable reasons, have a look on their face that questions my presence. Whether they are questioning my position in front of the lens or questioning my body size, the gazer appears to be visually troubled that I am in front of them [#]
You can find more photos from this series over on Haley Morris-Cafiero’s personal website.
Image credits: Photographs by Haley Morris-Cafiero and used with permission