Artist Haley Morris-Cafiero’s latest project is a collection of photographs of herself.
They are not selfies. They are, instead, a sad commentary about how society views her body.
Morris-Cafiero set up her camera in public places. She stood in front of it and performed everyday actions like speaking on a cellphone or eating a snack. Meanwhile, her camera captured hundreds of images of what was going on behind her.
The photographs show people seeming to mock or stare openly, and often with hostility, at her legs, stomach, rear end and chest.
Haley Morris-Cafiero's photographs are a social experiment in which she reserves the gaze back on to the stranger and places the viewer in the position of being a passive witness to a moment in time. Featured in C Photo 'Street': https://t.co/vmhQi6j1hU #CPhotoProject #Ivorypress pic.twitter.com/wqoyg3hlJk
— Ivorypress (@Ivorypress) July 17, 2019
In a statement, she writes,
“I consider my photographs a social experiment and I reverse the gaze back on to the stranger and place the viewer in the position of being a witness to a moment in time.
The project is a performative form of street photography.”
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Thanks to the @phmuseum for selecting me as photographer of the day. . . #Repost @phmuseum with @get_repost ・・・ The photographer of the day is @hmorriscafiero. — "This is a series of photographs that document my social experiment of documenting the reactions of strangers as I perform mundane acts in public." — #phmuseum #photographeroftheday #selfportrait #society #experiment #strangers
In addition to exhibits across the U.S. and abroad, Morris-Cafiero has published a book called The Watchers that includes the images and comments made regarding her body from passersby.
The people captured in her photos are from all races and occupations. The one commonality is they are probably considered normal-sized and they seem to feel very good about that.
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So happy to invite you to the panel discussion “Body Conscious” at @photolondonfair on Friday May 17 at 10am. The panel will be led by @firecracker_foto and will include me, @peytonfulford and @ronanksm I hope to see you there. #paneltalk #photolondon2019 #bodyconscious #firecrackerphotography
Morris-Cafiero does not interact with the strangers around her during the sessions. She only captures the exact moment in time when they see her and their unfiltered reactions and judgments.
The massive collection of faces representing a society that insists on objectifying and ridiculing the bodies of people who are out in public is chilling. It’s a sobering reminder that inside every body, no matter the size, there is a human being worth getting to know and an individual capable of love.
Spread kindness, everyone.