Is this how the world views obese people? Overweight woman photographs strangers staring at her in the street in bizarre project ~ SADIE WHITELOCKS, Daily Mail.
An obese woman has captured the cruel looks and stares she attracts in public by photographing herself in different social settings.
Haley Morris-Cafiero, 37, an artist from Memphis, Tennessee, is seen sitting in restaurants, out shopping and strolling around bustling tourist attractions such as Times Square while curious passers-by are captured in the background.
Talking about the revealing collection of images she writes on her website: ‘I have always been aware of people making faces, commenting and laughing at me about my size.’
She admits that her weight has been a constant battle and growing up she often felt ‘left out and awkward’.
Instead of talking about her body she refers to ‘my uncontrollable exterior’.
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On the subject of her eating habits she told MailOnline: ‘My biggest temptation has to be donuts. They contain all of the caloric evils in one round, portable container: fried, bread and sugar,’
Explaining what inspired her picture series titled Wait Watchers, she said: ‘I decided to photograph myself sitting alone on the Times Square stairs to capture my solitude in a busy crowd.
‘After developing the film, I noticed that a man was standing behind me being photographed by an attractive blonde woman.
‘A man turns his back to gawk at me while I am photographing myself sitting at a cafe table’
‘Rather than pose for her camera, he was sneering at me behind my back.
‘Five minutes later and at another location, another man turns his back to gawk at me while I am photographing myself sitting at a cafe table.’
To get the photos she set up a visible camera on a tripod and set to work carrying out mundane tasks in front of the lens, such as eating, reading, or talking on the phone.
She said that she has taken thousands of images of herself since starting the social experiment in 2010.
To ‘guarantee the most diverse pool of strangers’ she visited destinations all over the world including New York. Barcelona, Cuzco and Chicago.
Another of her projects called Something to Weigh, examines how her body fits into society. She positioned herself at locations including a swimming pool, casino and restaurant.
The images she said were an ‘attempt to juxtapose my place in the scene with issues that contribute to my weight gain’.
To date Ms Morris-Cafiero says her work has been well-received
Indeed one commentator wrote on lenscratch.com: ‘One of the most compelling, telling series of photographs about human nature and ‘what people think of us behind our back’ that I have seen. What courage…brava!
However she said that a few people have not been so enthusiastic.
‘The only criticism that I’ve gotten is that I’m being arrogant to think that people think anything about me,’ she told the Huffington Post.
Ms Morris-Cafiero studied art at the University of Arizona and photography at the University of North Florida.
She is currently the head of the photography department at Memphis College of Art and is one of twenty artists represented by the A.I.R. Gallery in New York.
According to the World Health Organization, more than one in ten of the world’s adult population is obese, yet ‘fat stigma’ is a common global problem.
Overweight and obese individuals are subject to discrimination in all kinds of situations and organizations such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) aim to reduce fat stigma.
However the media’s obsession with ‘size-zero celebrity’ make it a constant challenge.