• The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero
  • The Watchers by Haley Morris-Cafiero

The Watchers
Haley Morris-Cafiero

Four years ago, I started the Wait Watchers photographic series when I was taking a self portrait in Times Square. After I got the film developed I noticed that there was a man behind me and he appeared to be sneering at me. It intrigued me that even though we were in the sensory overload capital of the world and he is being photographed by someone, he was fixated on me. And then it happened 5 minutes later on the same roll of film. Since then, I have set up my camera for the purpose of capturing the expressions of passersby.

When I get home, I look at each frame to see if anyone in the photograph had a critical or questioning look on their face or gesture in their body language. While I do not know what the passerby is thinking, my goal is to reverse the gaze back on to the stranger and start a conversation. I am very interested in how society uses their gaze to project emotions and then how we interpret the looks of others.

In February of last year, a wonderful blog named Lenscratch published the Wait Watchers images. They were then published on websites all around the world. With the viral exposure came comment sections and blogs that hosted thousands of anonymous comments that said my life and, in the some cases, the world would be better if I lost weight and got a makeover.

Introduction by Amanda de Cadenet

A television personality, renowned photographer and entrepreneur, Amanda de Cadenet has evolved her body of work with an intriguing perspective and uncanny ability to render the truth through the art of storytelling.

This past summer, de Cadenet hosted Undone with @AmandadeCadenet, an all-new live talk series that premiered on Lifetime. One of only two women on Late night at the time, the half-hour show explored the topics trending in pop culture and feature interviews with celebrities or newsmakers who joined de Cadenet to talk about everything that went down that week. Leveraging her die-hard social media following, de Cadenet engaged with viewers across all platforms, taking the conversations happening online live on-air.

She continues as the Executive Producer and host of The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet. A television and online series that airs on TV in 18 countries, and aims to explore, nurture and empower the modern woman through thought-provoking discussions and candid interviews with notable female personalities. The show has a dynamic online community where women access behind-the scenes clips, thought provoking editorial content and engage in their own “Conversations”.

Beyond hosting her interview series, de Cadenet is a renowned fashion and portrait photographer who garnered critical attention as the youngest woman to shoot a Vogue magazine cover. Having photographed many of the most influential figures across pop culture, de Cadenet is best known for her intimate portraits of women which reflect her eye for true beauty from behind the lens. De Cadenet’s work can be seen in the glossy pages of publications like Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, New York Times, Glamour, Rolling Stone and Flaunt as well as in her published ten-year compendium, Rare Birds, which documents and humanizes her encounters with a variety
of pop culture icons.

Originally from the U.K. de Cadenet currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.


Foreword by Marvin Heiferman

Marvin Heiferman is a curator and writer who focuses on photography’s impact on culture and history in projects such as WHY WE LOOK on Twitter (@WhyWeLook 2012–present), Photography Changes Everything as part of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative (2008–2012), Fame after Photography at the Museum of Modern Art (1999), Talking Pictures at the International Center of Photography, andImage World: Art and Media Culture at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1989), and The Family of Man 1955–1984 at P.S. 1 (1984).

Heiferman has authored or edited over two dozen books about art, photography, visual culture, and cultural history. He is a contributing editor to Art in America and his articles have appeared in publications such as Artforum, Bookforum, Mousse, ArtNews, Aperture, and BOMB. He is a senior visiting scholar at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a faculty member of both the International Center of Photography/Bard College and the School of Visual Art’s MFA programs in photography.


Bright Spark Award


Fall 2015
Format & Features
Padded Cover
9" × 10"
144 pages
60 colour photographs
Full colour throughout
ISBN 978-1-926856-07-0

The Special Edition comes inside a silkscreened, linen-covered clamshell box.
List Price
$50 (book)
$130 (book in box)
$250 (book in box, with print)

Haley Morris-Cafiero

Haley Morris-Cafiero holds a BA in Photography and a BFA in Ceramics from University of North Florida and a MFA in Art from University of Arizona. She is an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean at Memphis College of Art. Her series of photographs, Wait Watchers, has been featured in over 50 articles all over the world and she has appeared on CBS This Morning and NPR to discuss her photographs. She has been nominated for the 2014 Prix Pictet and is a finalist for the Renaissance Prize.


Haley Morris-Cafiero knows that strangers gawk and glare at her in public. The artist and photographer has concrete evidence. Her fascinating multi-year photo project, The Watchers, captures the sideways glances and outright dirty looks she gets from a wide range of people — from police officers to children — who appear to sneer at her weight. Morris-Cafiero joins guest host Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss the banality of body-shaming, how she feels about the hard looks, and why we should all be more aware of the power of our gaze. CBC Radio: Photographer captures the dirty looks strangers give her »
Haley Morris-Cafiero has travelled the world to capture how people judge one another. Working with an assistant, she photographs herself in various locations being leered at, laughed at or ignored by people on the street. Each frame is chosen based on the strangers in the background, if they have a critical or questioning look, or if there is a gesture in their body language. By reversing the gaze back on the strangers, the collection begins a conversation about nonverbal interaction and the view society has on body image. Elizabeth Avedon: Best Photography Books of 2015 »
Haley Morris-Cafiero’s series “Wait Watchers” began in 2010 after she noticed a stranger sneering behind her in a self-portrait she took in Times Square. It inspired her to create a series of self-portraits in public spaces in order to start a conversation about the reactions of strangers and what it says about how people perceive each other. After first appearing on Lenscratch in 2013, the images quickly went viral: Morris-Cafiero even received calls from Anderson Cooper’s producers and Good Morning America. With requests pouring in, she went into triage mode in an attempt to steer the conversation back to her original intent: a dialogue about how fat-shaming and other body issues are presented—something that she was experiencing directly in the comment section of the publications that ran her images. She Tried to Create a Dialogue About Fat-Shaming and Got Fat-Shamed. That Gave Her a Great New Idea. »
Experiencing any form of body shaming is beyond horrible, and not something that anyone should have to deal with. Haley Morris-Cafiero knows how it feels. She is a photographer and associate professor at the Memphis College of Art, who has been fat shamed on more than one occasion. She has been sneered at and given dirty looks, but she has taken control of the situation and has been capturing the reactions of her fat shamers on film. This Awesome Photographer Turned The Camera Back On Her Fat Shamers »
Haley Morris-Cafiero — a photographer and associate professor at the Memphis College of Art — came up with the idea for a photo series called “Wait Watchers” while shooting a self-portrait in Times Square in 2010. At the time, she was working on a collection of images of herself in places where she felt particularly self-conscious about her weight, like restaurants and pools. (Morris-Cafiero says she has struggled with her weight since she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in college.) The Photographer Who Captures Fat-Shaming on Camera »