Hoping to open a dialogue on body image photographer and educator Haley Morris-Cafiero has bravely placed her own body on the serving platter to capture the gaze of onlookers in her new photography book “The Watchers” and through her photos turned the focus, from her body, to the judgmental bystander. What began as a simple self-portrait in New York has grown into a telling depiction of the criticism faced everyday by those that do not necessarily meet a certain standard of beauty, stated not in words, but in simple looks.
Realizing she captured attention through her Time Square photo in 2010, Morris-Cafiero set up a camera in beaches, walkways and stores to photograph the reactions of those that would pass by her as she talked on the phone, sunbathed or shopped.
Ignorant of the camera’s presence, the facial expressions of teens, adults and even policemen spoke volumes. In fact, the photos were so telling that in Feb. 2013, when her photos were found by major news sites like Huffington Post and Daily Mail UK, they quickly went viral.
Shocked by the amount of criticism about her looks, Morris-Cafiero began to photograph the reactions of passerby to her actively trying to improve her physical appearance, for instance, by applying makeup, and once again, the results are powerful, to say the least.