Memphis-based photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero's intriguing and eye-opening self-portrait series titled Weight Watchers exposes the negative looks she receives from passersby in public spaces. The series presents a powerful statement about the social stigma associated with being overweight. All at once, the images leave the viewer appalled by the judgmental glares that Morris-Cafiero receives from strangers, at one point even being mocked by police officers behind her back, and impressed by the amount of courage it has taken the photographer to share images of herself in these situations.

The photographer, who approaches the project as a visual social experiment, says, "I have always been aware of people making faces, commenting and laughing at me about my size. 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."

She adds, "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."

Haley Morris-Cafiero website
via [Booooooom]
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  • In some of these the people could possible not even be looking at her. 2, 5, 7, 9, and 10. In 2, the girl looks like she's laughing at her, but in reality it's totally possible she was laughing at something her friend said and happened to glance at the woman stopped in the middle of all the foot traffic, because she's stopped right in the middle of where everyone is walking. Then in 3, 4, 5, and 7, she's in the middle of the walkway looking at a map. In NYC. I live by NYC, and I know it drives me crazy when tourists block up the street bc they're looking at maps or looking at buildings and taking pictures. People need to get to work, and when they can't get by someone on the sidewalk, it's not cool. She's even opening up a map in one, and that makes her take up more room than one person should. In 7 though especially, it doesn't even look like those kids are looking at her, it looks more like they're looking past her, maybe at an ad on the bus stop. The guy in 9 is looking at her but he's not laughing, so maybe he was just looking at eople. I do that sometimes. The same with 11. The only one that is realy bad in my opinion is #1,
    The thing is, we're a society that judges people on their looks, we're biologically designed to do it. It sucks, but that's how we choose mates, we look for traits we would want our offspring to have. No, it's not right that e judge people based solely on looks. This photographer though is purposely drawing attention to herself by stopping in the middle of the sidewalk in NYC, and that annoys people to begin with, so when people are annoyed at you already, they're going to be ruder than they would have been if she hadn't. I'm not excusing bad behavior, I just really don't think this proves anything. If she weren't calling negative attention to herself on purpose, I don't think this would have happened. There are plety of overweight people in the city who aren't constantly being laughed at.

  • I think these photos are really illuminating. People act as if no one can see them when they are being rude.

  • Or it could be because she's blocking traffic, or because her feet are pointed inward. I think this woman is simply fishing for pity, and she's fishing awfully hard. I could see strangers looking at a skinny model who is standing in the street in the same manner.

  • Nice shots, the cops have nice shades it reminds me of my Oakley's where i bought from

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