Home / Psychology / In a Social Experiment Woman Photographs Strangers To Show How People React To Overweight People

In a Social Experiment Woman Photographs Strangers To Show How People React To Overweight People

By Christopher Paul, 23 June 2018


Haley Morris-Cafiero, was living a normal life and often heard people making comments on her weight but was never able to see it on their faces. One day when she took a picture she saw what she wasn’t able to, the faces of people around her when she’s not looking. She made this into a series where she would go to public places, dressed as normal as possible and take pictures of herself doing normal things. Upon seeing these photos we can say how judgemental humans are.

Who Is Haley Morris-Cafiero?


Haley Morris-Cafiero is an American photographer and the Acting Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Memphis College of Art. As a teenager she was anorexic and a bit muscular due to her involvement in sports. But due to her hypothyroidism, she gained quite a lot of weight in college. This was the start of her journey where she would be discriminated against due to her weight. Even after many diet attempts she couldn’t lose the weight due to her hypothyroidism.


Image Source: mca.edu

How Did This All Start?


While working on a project Haley accidently captured a self-portrait which had a passerby with an amused expression. Later looking at the picture she noticed the passerby was observing her and the expression was a result of that. She then tried to capture more reactions. Having experienced people commenting on her weight she never thought she’d be able to get a photographical proof of people’s reaction.


Image Source: boredpanda.com

Why Does She Do It?


You must be wondering why she does it. In her own words Haley has said “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.”


Image Source: www.dofiga.net

Let’s see the results of “Wait Watchers”

1The Picture That Started It All


This image of Haley sitting on Coca-Cola steps in Times Square is what started it. She was out doing a project, wearing what she normally wore. When she got the pictures back she noticed it, the man behind her looked like he was sneering at her. “I didn’t know him nor what he was thinking but it made me wonder: What if I were to set up a camera and photograph the scene as people pass me and see what happens?” She said and she began her “Wait Watchers” project.

The Picture That Started It All

Image Source: r29static.com

2Waiting To Cross


Haley sets up her camera in a public place and stays there for a while. She doesn’t dress herself up, or act erratic or do anything to get any attention on her. She jus stays there being normal and yet she is able to photograph people’s eyes on her.

Waiting To Cross

Image Source: metrouk2.files.wordpress.com

3At the Beach


Taking these pictures she has help a lot of young people not just women in knowing they are not the only ones who go through this alone. She has spoken out on fat shaming and discrimination towards overweight people.

At the Beach

Image Source: dailymail.co.uk

4Still At the Beach


The series has gotten some criticisms as many people believe the people in the picture are just glancing towards her and not judging her. Some people think this is a PR stunt as weight issues are in the spotlight and these images are meant to boost that topic.

Still At the Beach

Image Source: sohucs.com

5On A Busy Street


Many people believe that these photos are staged and that Haley poses to get people’s attention before the photo is clicked. Haley had to explain that she hides the camera and in no way does anything to get people to react to her. The reactions you see in the images are 100% real and she is just standing there.

On A Busy Street

Image Source: sinaimg.cn


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