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Woman Photographs Strangers To Show How People React To Overweight People
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64.2K
Photography4 years ago

Woman Photographs Strangers To Show How People React To Overweight People

When photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero decided to take pictures of herself in environments that made her feel uncomfortable, she didn’t expect to come up with another project that earned her a world-wide fame. “Wait Watchers” is a social experiment in a form of series of photos collected into one book that capture how passers-by react to overweight people they see on the street.

Back in 2010, after taking a self-portrait on some steps in Times Square, the photographer noticed that a man behind her was staring at her instead of posing for his own picture. He did it for a while, so for the photographer it was obvious that he was indeed judging her. “I’ve heard people make comments on my weight, but I never thought I’d be able to capture that on film,” Morris-Cafiero further explained her wish to further explore situations like that.

The woman would set up a camera with a tripod in any public place that she thought was interesting and took pictures of herself doing normal things like talking on the phone or eating ice cream. She never dressed up for the occasion as she didn’t want her clothes to attract attention, and she never did anything to provoke the looks of people that she captured on film.

After publishing the photos Morris-Cafiero received a lot of comments encouraging her to start exercising, put more effort into dressing up, and maybe start wearing makeup so people wouldn’t look at her the way they do. This inspired her to continue with the series but this time she tried to photograph the reactions of strangers when she does exactly what the internet suggested her to do. And while the woman was trying to improve herself for others, the reactions of them were still the same.

The photographer, who struggled with eating disorders in the past and suffers from Hypothyroidism, claims that she doesn’t care what people think of her and this project is not made to make anyone feel bad. “I don’t do it out of anger. I consider it a social experiment. It’s not a ‘gotcha!’ kind of sensationalism. But it is taking the camera and reversing the gaze of the stranger back on to them. I think it’s a barometer of society, really.”

The series has stirred some controversy online, as not everyone supports the photographer’s claims. While the pictures do capture strangers glancing at the photographer, no one can claim with an absolute certainty that all of the looks are mocking or judging. According to many commenters online, the strangers are not necessarily negative when looking at someone, they just might have been curious about the camera or something outside the frame.

What are your thoughts on this project? Scroll down to see the pictures and let us know what you think in the comments.

More info: haleymorriscafiero.com | Twitter

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

 

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

Image credits: Haley Morris-Cafiero

The full series can be found on a book that Haley Morris-Cafiero published here

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Daria B
Community Member
4 years ago

While it's true that people are too quick to judge with just one look, Seems to me that most people here are simply curious because they see a camera and someone posing, which is kinda unusual. People take selfies with sticks, usually, and it's not so common to see a tripod, so it catches attention. Unless the camera was hidden, like a "candid camera" of some sorts.

Rafaella Bueno
Community Member
4 years ago

I was thinking the same thing the entire article. Sorry, but I always look at people when they're taking selfies, specially if it's in a place where, to me, there's no reason to take a selfie (a random street vs the beach or a monument) and even more if they're posing a lot, and/or in the way like she is in some of the photos. Mostly I don't even register what they look like, at most what they're wearing. I'm just thinking "why the hell are you taking a selfie here?" If I ever judge those people, it's for having selfie sticks out in the middle of a busy street.

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Dara
Community Member
4 years ago

Huuummmm, I don't think most of the people were even looking at her. I dindt feel the shaming, I acctually saw like 2 or 3 people realy paying her some attention.

Diane Meyer
Community Member
4 years ago

I was thinking that none of these people are shaming anyone. People look at other people- that's part of being alive. Next will be people complaining that NO ONE is looking at them.....just live people! Please, try to make this world a better place, and just LIVE!!!

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Nadine Ducca
Community Member
4 years ago

What? it's just some people looking at her or looking vaguely her way. Some are obviously staring at her, which can certainly be uncomfortable and make me feel slightly bad for her. I have no idea what that cop was thinking. Was he trying to be funny? Others, however, just seem to be a bit of a stretch. For example, the guy sitting at the table and Time's Square doesn't really seem to be staring at her. Or the woman with the loaf of bread in front of the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona (my hometown!) seems to be looking at something past her. What do you guys think?

Rafaella Bueno
Community Member
4 years ago

I think the cop was just trying to photobomb her. He's not touching her, just hovering the hat over her head so she doesn't notice what he's doing. I've seen people who do that, randomly do something to people who are posing for photos, it's just a silly joke. I agree staring can make us uncomfortable, but as someone with low self esteem that is trying to rewire my negative brain, just because someone is looking at you for a while, doesn't mean they're judging you badly, and even if they are, it's not necessarily because of what you think it is - we just tend to assume that because WE are insecure and self conscious about that trait, so it feels like everybody else must be paying attention to it too.

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Daria B
Community Member
4 years ago

While it's true that people are too quick to judge with just one look, Seems to me that most people here are simply curious because they see a camera and someone posing, which is kinda unusual. People take selfies with sticks, usually, and it's not so common to see a tripod, so it catches attention. Unless the camera was hidden, like a "candid camera" of some sorts.

Rafaella Bueno
Community Member
4 years ago

I was thinking the same thing the entire article. Sorry, but I always look at people when they're taking selfies, specially if it's in a place where, to me, there's no reason to take a selfie (a random street vs the beach or a monument) and even more if they're posing a lot, and/or in the way like she is in some of the photos. Mostly I don't even register what they look like, at most what they're wearing. I'm just thinking "why the hell are you taking a selfie here?" If I ever judge those people, it's for having selfie sticks out in the middle of a busy street.

Load More Replies...
Dara
Community Member
4 years ago

Huuummmm, I don't think most of the people were even looking at her. I dindt feel the shaming, I acctually saw like 2 or 3 people realy paying her some attention.

Diane Meyer
Community Member
4 years ago

I was thinking that none of these people are shaming anyone. People look at other people- that's part of being alive. Next will be people complaining that NO ONE is looking at them.....just live people! Please, try to make this world a better place, and just LIVE!!!

Load More Replies...
Nadine Ducca
Community Member
4 years ago

What? it's just some people looking at her or looking vaguely her way. Some are obviously staring at her, which can certainly be uncomfortable and make me feel slightly bad for her. I have no idea what that cop was thinking. Was he trying to be funny? Others, however, just seem to be a bit of a stretch. For example, the guy sitting at the table and Time's Square doesn't really seem to be staring at her. Or the woman with the loaf of bread in front of the Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona (my hometown!) seems to be looking at something past her. What do you guys think?

Rafaella Bueno
Community Member
4 years ago

I think the cop was just trying to photobomb her. He's not touching her, just hovering the hat over her head so she doesn't notice what he's doing. I've seen people who do that, randomly do something to people who are posing for photos, it's just a silly joke. I agree staring can make us uncomfortable, but as someone with low self esteem that is trying to rewire my negative brain, just because someone is looking at you for a while, doesn't mean they're judging you badly, and even if they are, it's not necessarily because of what you think it is - we just tend to assume that because WE are insecure and self conscious about that trait, so it feels like everybody else must be paying attention to it too.

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